Your testament could be invalid – here’s what you need to know
If your will does not conform to South Africa’s minimum requirements, it will not be valid.by Helene Eloff
Death is not something we like to talk about.
Some find discussing their last will and testament awkward or morbid.
I’ve heard too many stories of someone who wrote their last wishes on a piece of paper or a computer, only for it to be disregarded.
If your will does not conform to South Africa’s minimum requirements, it will not be valid.
Watch this video for the basic requirements:
Clicklaw also provides answers to some frequently asked questions.
- May beneficiaries (those who will inherit) sign as witnesses to my will?
- I am divorced. Should I change my will?
That depends on whether you want your ex to be a beneficiary (in other words, to inherit when you die). If not, you have three months to amend your will. If you die within that three month period, your ex will not inherit anything. However, if you fail to amend your will within three months and pass away after that, your ex will inherit as per the will.
- If someone cannot read or write, how do they endorse their will?
The testator (the person whose will it is) may sign by either making a mark or by means of a thumbprint. This is done in the presence of at least two competent witnesses and a commissioner of oaths. The Commissioner of Oaths certifies the will and each of its pages.
- Where do I find a Commissioner of Oaths?
Some people are commissioners of oaths by virtue of their qualifications. Admitted attorneys, for example, are commissioners of oath, as are members of the police.
- How do I amend my will?
In terms of section 2(1)(b) of the Wills Act, you may amend your will. Amendments can be made via a codicil (an annexure to the existing will) that follows the rules that apply to a regular will and testament. If any amendment is made on the will itself, the testator must identify this by signing next to the amendment. Again, two witnesses must be present while this happens. They must also sign close to the amendment.
- Can someone sign my will on my behalf?
Yes, but that must be done in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths.
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