Many South Africans die with their estates in tatters, not having done enough to ensure those left behind will be able to live comfortably.

With National Wills Week having run from 12 to 16 September last year, UJ held a discussion which aimed to educate and create awareness on the importance of having a will and the different marital perspectives, drafting of wills, and other legal matters during Will Awareness Month. This was a partnership between the institution’s Faculty of Law and an insurance company, Professional Provident Society (PPS).

Legal expert and Manager at the UJ Law Clinic, Advocate Elton Hart led the 2022 UJ Alumni Engagement edition, where all things legal were discussed. The institution has three law clinics on the APK, DFC, and SWC campuses.

Deputy President of the UJ Convocation Professor Boitumelo Diale gave a brief address about what the institution’s Alumni Office and Convocation had been up to the past four years.

Amanda Vilakazi, an attorney who served as a member of the National Council of Correctional Services from 2015 to date, was also part of the discussion. She said whoever is skilled enough to draft a will for someone else, should. “The bank has enough resources and skilled individuals. A financial planner and an attorney have the expertise to draft a will,” she reiterated.

The keynote speaker for the event was Advocate Anneke Le Roux, who is a Senior Fiduciary Specialist at PPS. Her address focused on estate planning and the aspects that related to it. She gave a brief rundown of what one needs to know and do in matters of estate planning:

During Will Awareness Month, we advise and assist any person who needs to address their financial and estate planning affairs. Drafting a will allows us to leave a lasting legacy behind. In terms of leaving a legacy, it is important to realise that we take ownership of our planning and putting our wishes in place. If you don’t have a will in place, there are certain rules according to our law that governs the process of estate administration, called the law of intestate succession. In terms of this law, unfortunately, we or you don’t have the opportunity to nominate specific beneficiaries or legacies that you want to leave behind.

She said the downside of not having a will in place is the fact that your inheritance could end up being managed by the Master of the High Court in the case of surviving minors.

“In order to put your wishes into place, you need to draft a will and have it in order. It gives you an opportunity to nominate who your beneficiaries are,” she said.

September 7, 2022

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