An estimated 86% of South Africans die without leaving a will – known as intestate – or any kind of estate planning for their loved ones after their deaths. Although anyone over the age of 16 is free to make a will expressing their wishes, very few do.
The law makes provision for this situation under the Intestate Succession Act, which lays down the standard rules on how your estate will devolve.
However, if you do not want your estate to devolve according to the Act, you need to have a will stipulating your exact wishes.
The rules of intestate succession provide for, among others, the following scenarios:
- If you are married without children, your spouse will inherit your whole estate.
- If you are married with children, your spouse and children will jointly inherit your estate.
- If you have children but no spouse, your children will get everything.
- If you are single with no children and both your parents are still alive, they will inherit your estate in equal shares.
- If you have one surviving parent and siblings, your parent will inherit half your estate and your siblings the other.
- If you have one surviving parent but no siblings, your parent will get the whole estate.
- If you have no parents, your siblings will inherit your estate in equal shares.
- If you have no immediate family, your nearest blood relation will inherit your estate.
- Only if you have no living relatives will the proceeds of your estate devolve to the state.
If you are ready to draft a will to avoid intestate succession, talk to an estate planning expert in Port Elizabeth.
This article was written from information available on www.justice.gov.za.
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