Have your Will drafted (or updated) by a professional
The first, most essential step in your estate planning journey is to ensure that you have a valid Will in place. In South Africa, a valid Will determines who your beneficiaries will be and how your estate will be distributed when you pass away. Having a valid Will in place ensures that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones will be provided for when you are no longer here.
From our experience, we know that often a great deal of more pain is caused when someone perishes without leaving a valid Will. Having a valid Will, allows you to choose if you would like to leave specific items or a percentage of your assets to your loved ones, and who you would like your executor to be.
Having your Will prepared by a professional who is qualified and experienced in will drafting and deceased estate administration ensures that the provisions of your Will shall meet the legal requirements for a valid Will and that its contents will reflect your personal desires and be drafted with your particular circumstances and unique lifelong aspirations in mind.
After making a Will, it is crucial to ensure that you regularly update it so that it aligns with your momentous life events. A good guideline is to update your Will every 1 to 5 years, depending on your stage of life and the changes that have occurred. For example, if you have recently got married or divorced, or had new children, it is advisable to reconsider your Will to include a new spouse or children.
If you are nearing retirement and have not updated your Will for a while, it is so important to ensure that it is updated to include your current assets and to provide for your loved ones if they have changed since it was last updated.
Gather your estate information in a Life File
Having a valid Will in place is important but it is not enough to ensure effective estate planning. Estate planning is a lifelong journey that determines how effectively your estate will be administered and whether your loved ones will have peace of mind or pain when you are gone.
Once you have a valid will in place, it is important to ensure that the original document is stored safely along with important information about your estate that your loved ones will need when you are gone. Having this information stored and continuously updated will ensure efficient estate administration and lessen the burden on your loved ones when you are gone.
A useful estate planning tool that we recommend to our clients is a Life File. A Life File is a document that contains important information about you, your loved ones and your assets, such as properties, vehicles and life policies, among other things. Having all your important estate information up to date and gathered in one place allows your executor to efficiently deal with your estate administration, avoid delays and penalties and distribute to your loved ones in a shorter time.
If your Life File is up to date when you pass away, your executor can act on this crucial information available to ensure that you don’t lose out on any benefits that are due to your estate or your beneficiaries.
Download and use the Marsh Fidelity App
At Marsh Fidelity, we add value to our Will clients through our App and Life File template. Our App is one of the first-to-market fiduciary Apps in South Africa and allows you to easily keep your estate planning information and Life File up-to-date as your circumstances change and while you are still able to do so.
Our Will clients can have access to a special portal on our App with an encrypted username and password entry point. Within this portal, the registered users have access to a digital Life File where their Will and all their important estate-planning information can be added and continuously updated as life changes occur. If you are registered on our App portal, you can also add a trusted contact who will be able to access your portal and important estate information once you are gone.
If you are a Will client of ours, click the following link to access your special portal and Life File template on our App: https://marshfidelity.co.za/shop/marsh-fidelity-app-access/
If you do not have your Will with Marsh Fidelity, you can still download our App for free and have access to all the features other than the special access portal for our Will clients. Click the following link to download our App for free: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.marshfidelity.android. You can also purchase a digital Life File template on our online store by clicking the following link: https://marshfidelity.co.za/shop/life-file-template/.
If you would like to become a Will client of ours or find out more about how we can add value to you and your loved ones, contact us today at [email protected] or visit our website at https://marshfidelity.co.za for assistance.