A will is a legal document that explains how you want your assets to be distributed when you pass on.

Your assets are your possessions, like your home or car, or money you have saved. 

If you don’t have a will your assets are distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act. This means they are divided among certain beneficiaries in certain percentages, such as 50% to your spouse and 50% to your children. This can take months, if not years, to complete.  

If you want your final wishes to be known and your beneficiaries to share in your assets quickly it is wise to have a will.

Drawing up your will

You can use a professional, for example a lawyer, to help draw up your will or you can draw it up yourself.Use a will template like this one from 1Life to help you draw up your will.

Your will must: 

  • Be in writing
  • Be signed and dated by you
  • Include details of your assets, including your savings and investments 
  • Name your beneficiaries, giving full names and ID number
  • State in detail what each beneficiary will receive 
  • Be signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries and are older than 14 years
  • Name an executor to administer your estate. Among other things, he or she will make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and your debts are paid. 

Tell your family about your will

When you have signed and dated your will, let your family know where it is so they can find it when needed.

Top tip: Don’t forget to update your will if your circumstances change such as you get divorced, remarried, or have children.