5 things to keep in mind when writing a will


Writing your will is an uncomfortable experience for everyone due to the fact that you are fully accepting your own mortality. We all know we are going to die, but we do not know when. That is why a will is important. You have worked hard for the lifestyle you and your family enjoy, and you would like that lifestyle to continue even after your life doesn’t. A will is no longer an option, its necessity is now of utmost importance.


  1. What should my will contain?


  • Identity – your full names and surname
  • The beneficiaries of the estate and the inheritance each is to receive
  • It may contain a clause for the setting up of a Trust (for example if beneficiaries are under the age of 18) and details regarding the powers of trustees
  • There could be a clause where you nominate someone to act as a guardian to a minor child
  • A Will can be used to protect an inheritance from the legal ramifications of a particular type of marriage
  • The name of someone or a particular institution nominated as executor. It may also nominate someone as trustee


  1. What to keep in mind when writing it?


  • Keep the wording as plain as possible
  • When referring to a person use their full name and a short description – for example, my niece, Thato Nkosi.
  • Avoid using vague terms, such as ‘cash’
  • Ensure that you understand each clause in the drafted document and that the Will reflects your wishes
  • Make sure that your Will reflects your current situation at all times
  • If the Will is complicated, rather have a person with expertise revise it


  1. What should I tell others?


In order to ensure that the wishes expressed in your Will are put into effect at the time of your death, your family and friends should know the following:


  • Whom you have nominated as your executor
  • That your executor should be notified immediately in the event of your death
  • The whereabouts of your Will
  • Your wishes regarding funeral arrangements
  • Whom to contact if you wish to donate organs or tissues



  1. Who should write my will?


You should always seek expert and professional advice when you want to draft or review your Will. Attempting to draft the Will yourself could result in the Will being invalid, or could cause unintended consequences due to incorrect wording used.


  1. How can I make changes to my will?


You cannot alter an existing will by deleting parts or crossing bits out or adding other words or sentences or attaching other sheets of paper which do not comply with the requirements laid out for a valid will.  It is far better to prepare a new will altogether and destroy the old one.