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The validity of a will

A valid will has to be in writing, requires each page to be initialed on each page and signed at the end, in the presence of two adult witnesses who must see one another initial and sign. A witness to a valid will may not be an heir. You can do your own will but very many laymen’s wills end up void or embroiled in litigation for lack of clarity or non-compliance with the formalities. The formalities may be daunting where a will is attested with a “mark” or by other means. A defective will may still be enforceable but an expensive High Court application is required. Likewise, where the original will is lost, the consent of the High Court is required before the copy can serve as an original. At Executor Law we keep the original and valid will in a fireproof safe from where it is only removed if altered or finally required.

A valid will can be made in any country but it is advisable to deal with foreign assets in terms of a foreign will and with local assets in a local will. The complexities of winding up two separate estates are far less than having an integrated process spanning different legal jurisdictions and officials. The wording of the wills is therefore crucially important so as to ensure they do not end up duplicating the same subject matter. It is also critical that one does not cancel the other.

Most importantly, remember to appoint a trusted individual to act as executor – avoid surrendering your loved ones to the mercy of a call centre. Your loved ones deserve the best executor, such as Janine from Executor Law.

Who should be drafting your will

It is strongly recommended that a specialist estate attorney should drafting your will and be appointed as an executor or co-executor. The costs of the will should be very reasonable especially if the attorney is the executor/administrator where he/she will charge separately for the drafting of a will at an hourly rate that may vary from a nominal fee to a few hour’s work.

We will negotiate the fee to administer the deceased estate (ie the work of the executor) based on the complexity of the work and the size of the estate – typically it varies between 2.5 and 3.5% of the gross value of the estate (but only payable from the deceased estate and on final winding up).

Not only is our executor’s fee negotiable but the fee is in any event subject to the scrutiny and approval of the Master of the High Court. As such the entire process is transparent, fair, and independently checked and secured.

Remember that call centres don’t negotiate and the best you can do to address poor or non-existent service is to holler down the phone. Call centres simply turn down the volume. Call centres charge an administration fee at the prescribed rate and provide no solace to grieving loved ones. If you send an email the turnaround time is at least 48 hours.

Attorneys can be reported to their respective professional associations and bad service may result in them being disbarred. So, apart from face to face service, attorneys are subject to strict professional supervision.

The advantage of a human being.

We have years of experience in dealing with grieving loved ones and providing advice and solace to loved ones suffering the worst of times. We cannot change the worst of times to the best of times but we can assure you of the best service and assistance at any time. Call centres are simply industrial administration machines. At Executor Law we provide you with a face, a heart and a helping hand.

Consider your position carefully and act now!