What happens when you pass away without a Will?
When a person passes on without a Will, they forfeit the privilege of deciding what should happen to their estate and the estate gets allocated in terms of pre-determined legislated guidelines, known as Intestate Succession. In other words, that person has no say in how the estate should be apportioned.
Vijay Morarjee, CEO of FNB Fiduciary, said having a Will in place should from part of broader legacy and financial planning, with specific focus on the estate planning piece. Evidently, this is a subject most people avoid because it involves death. However, not having a Will can be traumatic on the family; in some instances quite expensive.
In the absence of clear directives that can only be made in a Will, all inheritances for minors (person below the age of 18) will be placed in the Guardian Fund. The Guardians Fund is administered by the Master of the High Court. Funds may only be accessed by the minor for specific limited purposes and the Master has implemented stringent requirements and processes in this regard to prevent abuse and fraud.
“It’s important to get expert advice when formulating a Will as there are various legal implications if the estate is not planned, provided for, and executed properly,” added Morarjee.