September is Wills month and we would like to take the opportunity to advise all of our clients about the importance of having a valid Will. Below is a list of requirements for a valid Will and we strongly recommend you contact our estates department to ensure your will and last wishes are valid and attended to as you desire.
THE REQUIREMENTS OF A VALID WILL
Since 1 January 1954 all wills must be in writing (verbal Wills are not regarded as valid). They can be written by hand or typed.
The signature of the testator/testatrix must appear at the end of the will. The testator/ testatrix must sign the will in the presence of 2 or more competent witnesses. If the testator/testatrix is unable to sign the will then he/she may ask someone to sign the will on his/her behalf or he/she can sign the will by making a mark (a thumbprint or a cross). A Commissioner of Oaths must certify that he/she has satisfied him/herself as to the identity of the testator/testatrix and that the will so signed is the will of the testator/testatrix so please ensure it is signed in the presence of the Commissioner of Oaths.
The witnesses must attest and sign the will in the presence of the testator/testatrix and of each other. Every page other than the page on which it ends must be signed as well. Any person of 14 years and above is competent to act as a witness (a witness and the witness’s spouse may not be one of your heirs or the executor in the will)
THE COSTS INVOLVED IN AN ESTATE
Unfortunately winding up an estate can be a complicated matter and it is most likely that you will need to appoint an estate specialist to attend to it. Here are some of the costs that can be expected to be claimed against the deceased estate:
The executor is the person attending to the winding up of the estate and is entitled to remuneration for the work involved in administering the estate. The executor’s remuneration is calculated according to a prescribed tariff which is currently 3.5% of the gross value of the assets, subject to a minimum remuneration of R350 plus VAT if the executor is registered as a VAT vendor. The executor is also entitled to a fee on all income earned after the date of death at the current tariff of 6% (plus VAT where applicable). Depending on the estate the below costs are also possible, noting that the attendance to the transfer of immovable property will be the biggest contributor to these costs:
- Estates with a net value of between R3,500,000.00 to R30,000,000.00 are subject to Estate Duty at the rate of 20% (as of 2021). Estates with a net value over R30,000,000.00 are subject to Estate Duty at the rate of 25% (as of 2022). Estates with a net value below R3,500,000.00 are exempt from Estate Duty.
- Postage, petties and advertisement fees;
- Master’s fees to a maximum of R7 000;
- Costs of bond of security if the executor is not exempt from furnishing security for the administration of the estate;
- Appraisement costs for the valuation of assets for estate and estate duty purposes; and/or
- Rates and taxes on fixed property.
- Costs incurred in the realisation of estate assets e.g. estate agent’s commission, brokerage on sale of shares etc.
 This list is not exhaustive and there may be other costs involved. The costs are estimates and may differ depending on the estate.
Contact ESI to arrange your free Will and for any Estate queries you may have.”