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Category Life Insurance

Leave a legacy of support and gratitude rather than anger, conflict, expenses and regret

12 September 2022 Old Mutual Wealth

National Wills Week, from 12 – 16 September 2022, comes as a timely reminder to get your will affairs in order – and not to leave it to your loved ones to interpret your wishes after your death.

Familiarising your family with the contents of your will isn’t exactly dinner time conversation, but the benefits of doing so far outweigh the discomfort you or your family might feel in the moment.

In recent months leading up to King MisuZulu’s coronation, several of his family members expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, going as far as to allege that the late King Goodwill Zwelithini’s will may have been forged.

This possible misinterpretation of a will can be circumvented by disclosing the contents of one’s will while that person is still alive.

“Taking the brave decision to sit down with your loved ones and explain why your will has been drafted a certain way can go a long way to avoiding conflict – not to mention expensive litigation,” advises Mandy Dix-Peek, Head of Fiduciary Capability at Old Mutual Wealth.

THE BENEFITS OF DISCLOSURE

Sharing the contents of your living will – In the event you are incapacitated, knowing your desires in terms of deciding when to terminate life support should it become necessary, knowing periods of care and treatment, will help to eliminate any disagreement between your family members. This will also help your heirs understand how your living will works together with your policies for terminal illness.

Emotional acceptance – Familiarising your loved ones with the contents of your living will also ensures that family members are “adequately prepared for the emotional challenge of terminating life support in the event this becomes necessary,” explains Dix-Peek.

Legal, tax and cost issues – If your heirs know what they are inheriting, they can also help you structure and word your bequest in the most cost-effective and tax efficient way. For example, rather than leaving assets to named children, if these children already have Trusts in their own right, naming their Trusts as beneficiaries saves a huge amount in estate duty. Listing the child’s Trust – rather than the child’s name – in the will “also avoids double transfer payments,” explains Dix-Peek.

SUPPORT IN DISCLOSURE
If you anticipate that disclosure will be emotionally challenging for you or your family or cause conflict or anger, having professionals on hand to assist may help to diffuse the situation.

“Most executors, trustees or attorneys are more than qualified to manage the disclosure process formally, and it’s great to have professionals on hand in the event disclosure brings legal or financial challenges to light,” says Dix-Peek.

“Will disclosure with your loved ones is both necessary and important, if you don’t want a smooth transition for your family after you have passed,” further advises Dix Peek.

Take advantage of this year’s National Wills Week from 12 – 16 September 2022 to ensure your will is up to date and that you share its contents with your loved ones.

You can have your will drafted for free during this period to, “ensure that you leave a legacy of support and gratitude rather than anger, conflict, expenses and regrets,” concludes Dix-Peek.

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