In order to provide valuable information on Wills in South Africa, we have extracted the bext resources from the internet to assist you with this often complex matter.


WILLS GLOSSARY (Important words and terms to understand about Wills)


Accrual: a method for calculating the division of assets on death or divorce
Asset something owned such as property, a vehicle or money in the bank
Beneficiary a person who benefits in terms of a Will or from a Trust
Bequeath/Bequest to give something by Will to another
Codicil an alteration to an existing Will which must be signed in the same manner as a Will is signed
Collation the legal obligation of an heir to bring into an estate any benefits received
from a Testator/Testatrix during their lifetime
Community of Property a marital property system in terms of which spouses share equally their assets and liabilities
Descendants a person’s children, grandchildren and all others descending from that person
Estate a person’s assets and liabilities
Executor / Executrix a male/female person appointed to administer and wind-up an estate on death of another
Guardian a person who looks after the interests of people, such as children, who cannot look after their own affairs
Immovable property land and the fixed structures built on it
Issue a person’s children, grandchildren and all other lineal descendants;
Master of the High Court the Court’s representative who oversees the administration of deceased estates, trusts, insolvent estates and the care of Minors
Minor a person under the age of 18 who has not achieved majority through marriage or a court order
Per Stirpes a stipulation that, should a beneficiary predecease the testator, the beneficiary’s share of the inheritance will go to his or her heirs
Power of assumption the power granted to an Executor or Trustee to nominate other persons to be appointed as co-Executor or co-Trustee to assist them
Representation where a nominated heir dies per stirpes before the Testator/Testatrix and the deceased heir’s issue inherit the deceased heir’s inheritance in equal shares
Residue all that is left of an estate after all debts, taxes, legacies and bequests have been paid
Testator / Testatrix a male / female person who makes a Will
Trust an agreement in terms of which property is held for one or more beneficiaries by a Trustee or Trustees
Trustee a person who holds property and looks after it on behalf of someone else

DISCLAIMER: This Wills Glossary is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please to contact us directly with any questions you may have in this regard.


A checklist for a valid Will


In order to be valid upon your death, your Will must:
• Be in writing, either typed or hand written
• Be signed in the presence of at least two competent witnesses, who are present at the same time and also in the presence of the testator.
• Be signed on every page by the testator and witnesses.
• Be dated clearly so that if there are multiple Wills, it can be established easily which Will is the final one.

Please note: Family members or any people who benefit from your will may not complete the blanks in this document, and may not sign as witnesses.


When do I nominate my spouse as an executor & when should I nominate an independent executor to administer my estate?

It is generally advisable to nominate your spouse as an executor. This gives them the freedom to shop around and choose the most suitable financial or legal assistance in administering the estate. It also gives them negotiating power with regards the costs of executing the Estate.
However, if you anticipate that there is likely to be conflict amongst your beneficiaries it is advisable to appoint an independent executor.