The Importance of Having a Will During Wills Week in South Africa

Wills Week is more than just a date on your calendar—it’s a wake-up call for all South Africans. This annual event is a golden opportunity to reflect on your estate planning needs and take crucial steps like writing a will. In this piece, we’ll discuss why having a last will is not just important, but essential, and how making a donation to a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) can benefit both you and the causes you hold dear.

writing a will, making a will
Why writing a will is so important

What is a Will?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s define what a will actually is. A will is a legal document that lays down your wishes for asset distribution and care of dependents after you’re gone. Think of it as your final love letter to your family and causes close to your heart.

Why Writing a Will is Crucial

Asset Distribution

Without a will, you’re basically rolling the dice when it comes to how your assets will be divided. South African intestacy laws will take over, and these may not align with your wishes. Writing a will provides you with the control to designate who inherits what and in what proportions. Read our article on how to draft a valid will.

Avoiding Family Disputes

No one wants their legacy to be a family divided. A well-drafted will can help prevent ugly disputes among relatives by spelling out your intentions clearly, thereby minimizing legal squabbles that can be emotionally and financially taxing.

Guardian for Minors

If you’re a parent to minor children, making a will allows you to appoint a guardian. This ensures that your children are taken care of by someone you absolutely trust.

Tax Efficiency

Proper estate planning can help minimise the tax burden on your heirs. With a will, you can take advantage of various tax-saving strategies to ensure your beneficiaries receive more of your estate

Charitable Giving

If you have charitable inclinations, a will is an ideal way to leave a lasting legacy. You can designate specific assets or a portion of your estate to be donated to a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) of your choice.

Donations to Public Benefit Organisations (PBOs)

A Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) is a non-profit organisation recognized by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for its charitable activities. Making a donation to a PBO can be a valuable component of your estate planning for several reasons:

Tax Benefits

Donations to PBOs are eligible for tax deductions. This means that your estate may benefit from reduced estate duty, which can ultimately increase the amount available for distribution to your chosen beneficiaries.

Philanthropic Legacy

Including a PBO in your will lets you leave a legacy that transcends material possessions. It’s a way to make a lasting impact on the causes you deeply care about.

Supporting Causes Close to Your Heart

Your will can be more than just a legal document; it can be a statement of your values. Whether you’re passionate about education, healthcare, poverty alleviation or environmental conservation, your will can help contribute to these causes.

Ensuring Proper Administration

We all want to make sure our hard-earned money is put to good use. PBOs in South Africa are subject to strict oversight, ensuring your donation goes exactly where it’s intended.

Encouraging Charitable Giving

Your act of including a PBO in your will could inspire others to do the same. Imagine creating a ripple effect of generosity in your community—that’s legacy building right there!

Conclusion

During Wills Week in South Africa, it’s essential to recognise the importance of having a will to safeguard your assets, protect your loved ones, and fulfil your philanthropic desires. By including a donation to a Public Benefit Organisation in your estate planning, you not only leave a lasting legacy but also enjoy potential tax benefits and the satisfaction of supporting causes close to your heart. It is always advisable to consult with a qualified professional to ensure your will is properly drafted, meets legal requirements, and reflects your wishes accurately. Your estate planning decisions today can have a significant impact on the future well-being of your loved ones and the causes you care about.

Steven Hall

Steven Hall

Steven is a Director and Founding Partner at Henceforward. He has over 20 years experience, is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, and is passionate about ensuring his clients have all their estate planning affairs in order, including their wills.

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