What happens if…

What happens if you die without making a Will?

It is imperative that you have a last will and testament setting out your final wishes in terms of the disposition of your assets. You should also review your will regularly so as to take into cognisance any changes to your circumstances that may have an effect on your current will, for example if you get married, if you have a new child or if your marriage is dissolved either by means of divorce or death of your spouse, a sudden influx of assets meaning the need for Inheritance Tax planning.

If you die without making a will or without leaving a valid will in which you specify how your estate is to be dealt with, your estate will then devolve in terms of Intestate Succession. You are said to have died ‘intestate’, meaning everything you own will be valued, tax will be levied accordingly and then shared out to your surviving spouse or relatives or given to the State if you don’t have any.

The downside of Intestate succession for you is that neither you nor your family have any say in terms of how your estate is to be dealt with. The State will decide who will be the beneficiaries and it is a very long and drawn out process. This has an adverse effect on any spouse and surviving family members who in the interim will have to deal with the usual living and household expenses. Simply because you did not take the time to make a valid will where you can have the say in terms of what happens to your assets comprising your Estate.

If you have got a valid Last Will and testament it should take no longer than three months to complete the legal process and release your assets to the people of your choice and in the manner you dictate.

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