Every person wants to know that their loved ones will be well taken care of after their demise. Even if you cannot take all your assets with you after death, it is fulfilling to know that they will be in safe hands the moment you depart. So how do you secure your assets?
A will is a legal declaration by a person of his/her wishes and intentions regarding the disposition of his/her property that is duly made and executed in accordance with the law. To make a will you must be of sound mind and above 18 years of age.
What is in a good will?
- Identification: A good will identifies you and decides under which laws your estate will be administered.
- Appointment of executor/s (and alternate): A good will appoints an individual/institution to execute it. An alternate is appointed in the event that the executor is unwilling or unable to accept the responsibility.Appoint a guardian: In the event that you have children a good will gives details of who will be responsible for them.
- List your specific bequests: This details distribution of specific personal property to specific beneficiaries.
- Witnesses: A will should be made in the presence of at least 2 witnesses.
In the event that a will has not been made, person/persons will be appointed by the court to administer the estate. Generally, preference is given to a surviving spouse/spouses and beneficiaries of the estate. The distribution of the assets of the deceased is controlled by law under the provisions of the Succession Act.
A trust is an arrangement whereby title to property is vested to A to hold for and on behalf of B. It creates an obligation to hold the property in a particular way on behalf of another person.
How do trusts work?
Trusts are intended to survive the creator of the trust. They continue giving effect to the creator’s wishes even after death in the following ways:
- Asset preservation: allows use of income whilst preserving the capital asset
- Capital continuity: when an asset is preserved, income flow from the capital can continue for as long as the asset is preserved.
- Continued support for beneficiaries: A trust allows continued support for beneficiaries for as long as the trust creator wishes. This can go on even for life.
Trusts are very important since they ensure that the purposes for which the creator of the trust intended the trust income to be used is met.