1. Why is it important to make a will?
  • If you do not make a valid will, the assets in your deceased estate will be distributed in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act, which may result in a family member(s) who you do not want to benefit, inheriting some or all your assets.
  • Making a valid will ensures that when you pass away, only those who you want to inherit your assets will inherit them and that they inherit only those specific assets you want them to inherit.
  • A valid will, that is well drafted ensures that there are no disputes over who should inherit your assets thus promoting family harmony.
  • You can change your will at any time by simply making a new will and annulling all previous wills
  • You get to choose the person who will be responsible for winding up your deceased estate by appointing an Executor.


  1. What are the requirements for making a valid will?
  • The requirements for drafting a valid will are contained in the Wills Act.
  • Testator must be older than 16 years.
  • Must be mentally capable of understanding the consequences of his actions at the time the will was drafted.
  • Must be in writing, can be hand written or typed and printed.
  • Testator must sign at the end of the will. The signature should be placed just below or as near as possible to the last line of the will.
  • Testator may request a person to sign on his behalf. In this case the signature must be made in the presence of the testator, at least two competent witnesses and a commissioner of oaths. The commissioner of oaths must certify the will and sign each page.
  • If the will is longer than one page, the testator must also sign every other page of the will, anywhere on the page.
  • The testator’s signature on the last page must be acknowledge in the presence of 2 competent witnesses who are present at the same time. Competent witness is anyone over the age of 14, of sound mind who can testify in court.
  • Witnesses must sign the last page of the will. Recommended that it be made as near possible to the last line of the will. The witnesses role is to witness the signature of testator. It is recommended that that this attestation clause be added, “ We, X and Y, hereby confirm the signature of testator Z and declare that we have signed the will of Z on __ in the presence of one another and of Z.
  • Recommended that witnesses also sign every other page of the will.
  • A beneficiary or executor should not sign a will as a witness. If they do they may be disqualified from inheriting under the will. The validity of the will is not affected.
  • Recommended that the will be dated, in the event that more than one will is found this avoids confusion.




  1. What are the important factors to consider when drafting a will?
  • Choose an executor(s). The executor is the person who is responsible for the liquidation and administration up of a deceased estate. The executor is granted specific powers in terms of the law, for example as soon as the Letter of Executorship is granted he must take into custody or under his control all the property, books and documents in the estate. If it is desired to give the Executor additional powers, example to enter into leases or carry on business this should be specifically set out in the will.
  • Heirs should be clearly identified in the will. This means that the full correct names and identity numbers should be used and it is recommended that their relationship to the testator be stated.
  • Name a guardian for minor or dependant children.
  • Assess what property you have and then divide the property among your heirs.
  • Remember to sign the will in the presence of two witnesses, who must thereafter sign the will.
  • If you make a bequest of a particular asset, it should be sufficiently and accurately described, example a motor vehicle should be described by make and model and registration number.
  • In certain circumstances it may be advisable to create a trust in terms of a will, referred to as a testamentary trust. This may be advisable when there are minor children or there is a risk that the person(s) who the testator may want to benefit may squander the assets.
  • A clause should be inserted in the will excluding community of property and the accrual system in respect of inheritances in terms of the will.