By Joubert Galpin Searle Associate - Teresa Heasley (Estates Division)
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 our lives have changed immensely with terms like “lockdown”, “self-isolation” and “force majeure” becoming the topics of discussions among family and friends. Each of these phrases are causing uncertainty and anxiety and is forcing changes in lifestyles and inevitably calls for introspection as we try to come to grips with the enormity of our situation and the “remote” possibility that we may not live forever. Overall, we all feel like the situation is spinning, or has spun, out of control. Life, as we knew it, has become uncertain and unpredictable.
Now is the time to take control of what you can do to ensure that you do not leave all up to an uncertain outcome. On top of your list should be your Will. Make sure you have a valid Will and that your circumstances have not changed since the last time it was drafted.
Firstly, we recommend that you consider whether it is necessary to revise your Will. It may be necessary to do so if your marital status has changed; if any family member that was previously nominated as an heir has passed away; if there are newborn children, their names should be included in the Will; guardians for minor children should be provided for and a new Executor may have to be appointed if changed circumstances so require.
Secondly, we suggest that you keep your personal, medical, legal, financial and other relevant information in one file for your family to revert to when they need access to such information in order to overcome the inevitable confusion and uncertainty that results from an untimely passing. We can assist you with compiling such a file.
Thirdly, you may consider asking us to retain a digital copy of such information on our secure electronic database to which you (and your heirs after your death) will have ready access if any documents were misplaced, or urgent access is required. We do so at no additional charge if we were to be appointed as your executors.
Finally, we propose that you discuss your wishes and intentions regarding how your estate is to be dealt with, and where your will and estate documents are to be kept, with your family so that you can have peace of mind that your heirs have the comfort of having been consulted and are aware of what they are to do in the event of your death.
Ensure peace of mind