Wealth Protection

Creating a will is a critical step in ensuring that your wishes are honored and your assets are distributed according to your plan after your passing. In South Africa, as in many parts of the world, having a legally valid will is essential for providing peace of mind to both you and your family. In this article, we will guide South African families through the process of creating a will, emphasizing its importance and the steps involved.

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on the Money Unscripted blog. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

Why is Creating a Will Important?

  • Asset Distribution: A will allows you to specify how your assets, including property, savings, and personal possessions, should be distributed among your beneficiaries.
  • Guardianship: If you have minor children, a will enables you to appoint a guardian who will take care of them if both parents pass away.
  • Minimize Family Disputes: A clear and legally valid will can reduce the potential for disputes and conflicts among family members regarding the inheritance.
  • Financial Security: By creating a will, you can ensure that your family is financially secure after your passing, with access to the resources they need.

Steps to Create a Will in South Africa:

  • Identify Your Assets: Begin by making a comprehensive list of all your assets, including property, bank accounts, investments, personal possessions, and any debts you owe.
  • Choose an Executor: Select a responsible and trustworthy individual who will be responsible for administering your estate. It’s essential to discuss this role with the chosen person before appointing them in your will.
  • Decide on Beneficiaries: Determine who will inherit your assets and in what proportions. Be specific in your instructions to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Guardianship of Minor Children: If you have children under the age of 18, decide who will take care of them in the event of your passing and include this information in your will.
  • Drafting Your Will: You can draft your will yourself or consult a legal professional. South Africa has specific legal requirements for wills, so it’s often advisable to seek legal advice to ensure your will is legally valid.
  • Witnesses and Signatures: For a will to be legally valid in South Africa, it must be signed in front of two competent witnesses who also sign the document. These witnesses should not be beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries.
  • Keep Your Will Safe: After creating your will, store it in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or with your attorney. Ensure that your executor knows where to locate the will.
  • Review and Update: It’s essential to review your will periodically, especially after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or the acquisition of substantial assets.

Bottom Line

Creating a will is a responsible and considerate act that provides guidance, security, and peace of mind to South African families. It ensures that your wishes are respected and your loved ones are provided for when you are no longer around. To ensure that your will is legally valid and properly executed, consult with a legal professional who can guide you through the process. By taking the necessary steps to create a will, you can protect your family’s financial future and reduce the stress and uncertainty that can follow your passing.

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Title: Your Retirement Fund Deserves to Be Protected: Securing Your Financial Future

Introduction

Planning for retirement is a vital aspect of financial well-being, and your retirement fund represents the culmination of years of hard work, savings, and financial discipline. It is, without a doubt, one of your most significant assets. However, ensuring the safety and growth of your retirement fund is a responsibility that deserves your attention and diligence. In this article, we’ll explore why your retirement fund deserves to be protected and offer guidance on how to safeguard your financial future.

The Importance of Protecting Your Retirement Fund

  1. Your Lifelong Security

Retirement is the time when you should be enjoying the fruits of your labor, not worrying about financial instability. Your retirement fund is designed to provide you with a steady income after you stop working, ensuring you can maintain your desired standard of living throughout your golden years.

  1. Rising Life Expectancy

People are living longer, which means your retirement fund needs to last longer too. Protecting your retirement savings ensures that you won’t outlive your money, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable retirement without financial stress.

  1. Inflation’s Impact

Inflation erodes the purchasing power of your money over time. To combat this, your retirement fund must not only preserve its value but also grow to keep up with rising living costs. A well-protected fund has the potential for steady growth, helping you stay ahead of inflation.

  1. Unexpected Expenses

Life is unpredictable, and unexpected expenses can arise at any time. Whether it’s medical bills, home repairs, or family emergencies, having a protected retirement fund provides a financial safety net to cover unforeseen costs without jeopardizing your retirement plans.

  1. Legacy Planning

Protecting your retirement fund also allows you to consider what you’d like to leave behind for your loved ones. If you wish to leave an inheritance or support charitable causes, safeguarding your retirement savings ensures that you have the means to do so.

How to Protect Your Retirement Fund

  1. Diversify Your Investments

Diversification is a fundamental strategy for managing risk. Spread your retirement investments across a variety of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, to reduce the impact of market volatility on your fund.

  1. Regularly Review and Adjust

Keep a watchful eye on your retirement investments. Regularly review your portfolio, assess your risk tolerance, and adjust your investment strategy as needed. Consult with a financial advisor for expert guidance.

  1. Minimize Debt

High-interest debt can erode your retirement savings. Prioritize paying down debts, especially credit card balances and high-interest loans, to free up more money for retirement savings.

  1. Take Advantage of Tax-Advantaged Accounts

Maximize contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs. These accounts offer tax benefits that can help your retirement savings grow faster.

  1. Emergency Fund

Maintain an emergency fund separate from your retirement savings. This ensures you have readily available cash to cover unexpected expenses without dipping into your retirement fund.

  1. Avoid Impulsive Decisions

During times of financial stress, it’s essential to avoid impulsive decisions that could harm your retirement fund. Consult a financial advisor for guidance before making significant financial choices.

Conclusion

Your retirement fund is not just a nest egg; it’s your financial lifeline for the future. Protecting it should be a top priority. By taking proactive steps, diversifying your investments, and seeking expert advice when needed, you can secure your retirement fund and ensure a comfortable and worry-free retirement. Remember, protecting your retirement savings is an investment in your financial peace of mind and your ability to enjoy the retirement you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

As you embark on your journey into property investment in South Africa, it’s crucial to gain a comprehensive understanding of the local property market. The real estate landscape in South Africa is diverse and dynamic, influenced by various factors. In this article, we will explore the current state of the South African property market, delve into the key drivers of property prices, and provide valuable insights to help you make informed investment decisions.

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Money Unscripted blog. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

The South African Property Market: An Overview

The South African property market is characterized by a wide range of properties, from residential homes and apartments to commercial and industrial spaces. It is a substantial and vital part of the country’s economy, offering both stability and growth potential for investors.

Key Factors Influencing Property Prices

Several factors contribute to the dynamics of the South African property market, impacting property prices and demand. Here are some of the key factors to consider:

  1. Economic Conditions: The overall health of the South African economy plays a significant role in the property market. Economic growth, employment rates, and consumer confidence can affect property demand and pricing.
  2. Interest Rates: Changes in interest rates set by the South African Reserve Bank can influence mortgage affordability. Lower interest rates tend to stimulate demand for property, while higher rates may have the opposite effect.
  3. Demographics: Population growth, urbanization, and shifting demographics can create demand for specific types of properties in particular locations.
  4. Location: Location remains one of the most critical factors in property pricing. Properties in desirable areas with good infrastructure and amenities tend to appreciate more rapidly.
  5. Infrastructure Development: The development of new infrastructure, such as highways, public transportation, and shopping centers, can have a positive impact on property values in surrounding areas.
  6. Government Policies: Government policies, such as housing incentives and land reform initiatives, can affect the property market. It’s essential to stay informed about any policy changes that could impact your investments.
  7. Supply and Demand: The basic principle of supply and demand also applies to property. Areas with high demand and limited supply are more likely to experience price increases.
  8. Market Sentiment: Investor sentiment and market perception can influence property prices. Positive sentiment can lead to higher demand and price growth.

Regional Variations

South Africa’s property market is not uniform, and regional variations are significant. Different provinces and cities may experience varying levels of demand, growth, and market conditions. Therefore, it’s essential to research specific areas you are interested in to understand their unique dynamics.

Market Data and Research

To make informed investment decisions, consider accessing market data and research reports from reputable sources. Organizations like the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), property research firms, and government agencies provide valuable insights and statistics on the property market.

Bottom Line

Understanding the South African property market is the first step in your property investment journey. It’s a dynamic and multifaceted landscape influenced by various economic, demographic, and policy factors. As you move forward, keep in mind that market conditions can change, so continuous research and staying up-to-date with industry trends are essential. In the next article, we will focus on financial preparation for property investment, helping you lay the foundation for a successful investment venture in South Africa.

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Our courses:

1. How to master your money mindset

2. How to budget like a pro

3. How to build an emergency fund

4. How to pay off your debt

5. How to create multiple streams of income

6. Investment Guide: What’s your ‘Why’ in investing

7. Investment Guide: Investment basics

8. Investment Guide: Investment options

Moving in together with your significant other is an exciting and significant step in any relationship. While it’s a time of joy and adventure, it’s also important to consider the legal implications of cohabitation in South Africa. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of a cohabitation agreement, and why having a will is crucial for couples living in a cohabitation agreement.

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Money Unscripted blog. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each partner when living together. This agreement can cover everything from who pays the rent and bills, to how property and assets will be divided if the relationship ends. It’s important to note that cohabitation agreements are not automatically recognized by law in South Africa, so it’s important to have the agreement drawn up by a lawyer and signed by both partners.

Pros and Cons of Cohabitation Agreements

Pros:

Clear expectations: A cohabitation agreement provides clarity and certainty around each partner’s responsibilities and expectations.

Financial protection: A cohabitation agreement can help protect both partners financially in case of a breakup or other legal issues.

Customization: Couples can tailor the agreement to suit their specific needs and circumstances.

Avoid disputes: A cohabitation agreement can prevent disagreements or disputes from arising in the future.

Cons:

Cost: Hiring a lawyer to draft a cohabitation agreement can be expensive.

Emotional difficulty: Negotiating a cohabitation agreement can be difficult and may cause tension in the relationship.

Not legally binding: Cohabitation agreements are not automatically legally binding in South Africa, so it’s important to ensure the agreement is properly drafted and signed by both parties.

While a cohabitation agreement is an important legal document, it's also important to remember that it doesn't cover everything. For example, it doesn't provide for what will happen if one partner dies, which is why it's important to have a will in place when living in a cohabitation agreement.

When creating a cohabitation agreement, both parties should be transparent about their financial situation and assets. This will ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of their financial responsibilities and what they are entitled to in the event of a breakup or death. The agreement should also be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it still reflects the couple's wishes and circumstances.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets and property should be distributed after their death. Without a will, the courts will decide how to divide the assets, which may not reflect the wishes of the deceased or their partner. This is particularly important for couples who are not married, as South African law does not automatically recognize cohabitation relationships.

Pros and Cons of Having a Will

Pros:

Control: A will gives individuals control over who inherits their assets and property after their death.

Clarity: A will provides clarity and certainty around how the deceased’s assets and property will be distributed.

Protect loved ones: A will can help protect loved ones from potential legal disputes and ensure their financial security.

Cons:

Cost: Hiring a lawyer to draft a will can be expensive.

Emotional difficulty: Discussing a will can be emotional and difficult for loved ones.

Changing circumstances: It’s important to regularly update a will to reflect changing circumstances, which can be time-consuming and costly.

When living in a cohabitation agreement, it's important to have a will in place in order to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Without a will, your assets may be distributed according to South African law, which may not reflect your wishes. Additionally, if you have children or other dependents, a will can provide for their care and support in the event of your death.

When creating a will, it's important to discuss your wishes with your partner and ensure that they are aware of your plans. You should also consider appointing your partner as your executor or beneficiary to ensure that your wishes are respected and your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Bottom Line

Both cohabitation agreements and wills are important legal documents for couples who are moving in together. While there are pros and cons to each, they provide important protections and clarity around the legal implications of cohabitation and end-of-life planning. By taking the time to discuss and draft these documents, couples can protect themselves and their loved ones, and ensure their wishes are respected.

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Here are the courses:

1. How to master your money mindset

2. How to budget like a pro

3. How to build an emergency fund

4. How to pay off your debt

5. How to create multiple streams of income

6. Investment Guide: What’s your ‘Why’ in investing

7. Investment Guide: Investment basics

8. Investment Guide: Investment options

The LSSA National Wills Week will be held from 12 to 16 September 2022.

A will means you have the final say about where your assets go when you’re gone, but according to Sanlam research, 75% of black South Africans do not have one, and this can have a huge impact on spouses and adopted children.

Editorial Note: We earn a commission fro partner links on Money Unscripted blog. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

For a will to be considered valid it must; be a written document, contain a clause revoking all your previous wills, be signed by you, the testator, on each page and witnessed by two competent witnesses over the age of 14 who are not beneficiaries in the will.

Why You Need a Will

Many people wonder if they really need a will. They may think that they don’t have enough assets to bother with a will. Or that they don’t need a will because they’re not yet elderly. However, a will is a good idea for just about everyone.

What Exactly Does a Will Do?

If you die without a will, the state will decide who gets your property. If you die without leaving a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act.

These provisions are generally fair and ensure that your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children, and where applicable, to siblings, parents, and if required, then to the extended family in terms of degrees of relationships and those that were dependent on you for financial support.

Why Should You Have a Will?

1. Wills Can Name Specific Inheritors for Specific Property

Most people know that a will lets them decide who will get their property. As the testator, you can name people as beneficiaries for specific assets. You can also name beneficiaries for any property that you don’t list — the “residuary” of your estate. When your executor handles your will, they’ll be in charge of distributing these assets.

2. Wills Name a Guardian for Your Minor Children

If you’re a parent, you can use your will to nominate a guardian for your minor children. The surviving parent will usually get sole legal custody if one parent dies. But if both parents pass, this is one of the most important reasons to have a will.

A guardian will be responsible for all your children’s daily needs, including food, housing, health care, education, and clothing. And if you don’t nominate a guardian in your will, a court will have to choose one for you. This could mean that someone you would not have chosen will be raising your kids.

Read:What I learned from being a parent

3. If You Want to Disinherit Someone, You’ll Need a Will

Disinheritance means that someone who would otherwise expect to receive assets from an estate is left out of the deceased person’s will or trust.

The basis for disinheriting someone comes down to clarity. You want to be explicit about your intentions – and ensure your documents are valid and properly drafted – so there can be no dispute over how your estate is handled.

4. You Can Name an Executor in Your Will

This person makes sure your will is carried out, so choose an executor carefully. A neutral party rather than a family member generally is a better idea, if for nothing more than to preserve family harmony during a difficult time. Make sure your executor is a responsible person and has enough time to devote to the task.

5. A Will Makes the Probate Process More Simple

Without a will, the court has to name an administrator to administer your estate. And this can be time-consuming, expensive, and even contentious for your loved ones.

6. Provide funeral instructions

You may not want to think about your own funeral. But if you do think about it now, and leave instructions with your will, you can lessen the burden on your loved ones after you pass. While these instructions aren’t legally binding, they can give your executors and loved ones some guidance on your wishes.

When you include instructions, you can name a funeral executor to manage the process, give suggestions for the service and location, make requests for your final resting place, and more.

Read: What is dread disease cover

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What happens if I die without leaving a will?

The following issues may arise if you die without leaving a will:

  • Your assets may not be left to the person of your choice.
  • It can take a longer time to have an executor appointed. The appointed executor may be somebody you may not have chosen yourself.
  • There could be extra and unnecessary costs.
  • There could be unhappiness and conflict among family members because there are no clear instructions on how to distribute your assets.

How do I draft a will?

It is possible to draft a will yourself according to widely-sold templates, as long as it meets certain legal requirements. However, if your will involves factors like the complicated distribution of assets, extended family or beneficiaries, the naming of guardianship, or dependents or spouses from multiple marriages, it is recommended to get help from a financial advisor, legal advisor, or trusted company.

LSSA’s National Wills Week

The LSSA’s National Wills Week campaign allows the public to have a basic will drafted by an attorney free of charge from September 12 to 16.

The contact details and addresses of all participating attorneys can be accessed at www.lssa.org.za

Once you have located a law firm closest to you, give them a call and set up an appointment directly with them.

During the LSSA National Wills Week, attorneys participating in the initiative will display posters with their contact details so that members of the public can make appointments with attorneys in their area. In addition, the contact details and addresses of all participating attorneys can be accessed on the LSSA website at www.lssa.org.za

You can create a will online or use the software on your own. It can be done in a couple of hours.

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Did you know one in five people will suffer from a serious illness at some stage in their life? And one in eight will contract cancer before the age of 65, according to PPS. Whether or not to take out dread disease cover is a burning question for many, especially because such cover is not cheap. Let’s have a look at how this cover works and what to consider when assessing the need for this cover in your insurance portfolio.

What is dread disease cover?

Also referred to as critical illness cover. Is an insurance policy that pays out a lump sum in the event that you are diagnosed with an illness leaving you unable to work. This includes serious illnesses like cancer, organ failure, blindness, heart attacks, strokes, and transplants.

You can use your lump-sum payout to fight back against your illness with medical care, and home renovations to cater to your new condition. Or simply to keep up with the usual day-to-day financial costs.

This can assist you if you need to take a few months off work to receive treatment (such as chemotherapy), recover from major surgery, or perhaps can no longer work in your job due to your illness (such as blindness or Alzheimer’s). The lump-sum payout means that you can rather focus on your health and not worry about how you’re going to pay the month’s bills.

Why Dread Disease Insurance is important?

The big 4 dread diseases are cancer, stroke, heart attacks, and coronary bypass graft surgery. Cancer remains the leading cause of dread disease claims.

Here’s what to consider when deciding to implement dread disease cover and at what level:

1. Your medical aid plan option

If you have a disability cover in place, think carefully about the purpose of the cover in the context of your overall portfolio.

2. Gap cover

The role of gap cover is to provide additional financial protection to medical scheme members who receive in-hospital treatment and care. So that they are not saddled with large out-of-pocket expenses following a hospital event, which means that it can play a role in alleviating medical costs – but mostly in the event of hospitalization.

3. Disability cover

If you have a disability cover in place, think carefully about the purpose of the cover in the context of your overall portfolio.

4. Your affordability

If securing dread disease cover is a financial planning goal, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend each month on your cover.

5. Your health status

You will need to take your current health status into account together with any concerns you may have with regard to any particular illness – specifically if you have a family history of critical illness.

6. Your age

Generally speaking, the younger you are, the more affordable your premiums will be. If you are relatively young and in good health, you can benefit from taking out dread disease cover with favorable underwriting and premiums.

Read: How to save while enjoying life

7. Emergency funding

Lastly, don’t forget to take into account the level of emergency funding you have in place and whether it would be sufficient to provide for your needs in the event of a dread disease diagnosis.

Read: Why you need an emergency fund

Who needs Dread Disease Insurance?

It’s something that we never think we’ll need. Being diagnosed with a critical illness can happen to anybody. It’s a reality that anyone of us may face one day, and you don’t want to have finances standing in the way of getting the care you need.

This is why it’s important for anyone with financial responsibilities to take out Dread Disease Cover, especially those with financial dependents. Remember, even if you have medical aid available to cover your medical fees, there’ll be more additional costs that pop up that won’t be covered.

Consider getting critical illness cover if:

  • You and your family depend heavily on your income
  • You don’t have enough savings to tide you over if you become seriously ill or disabled
  • You don’t have an employee benefits package to cover a longer time off work due to sickness.

Choosing a Dread Disease Insurance

When looking for suitable dread disease cover, it is important to determine exactly what conditions the insurer covers and to what extent, keeping in mind that every insurer has a different product offering and structure. While you might be swayed to take out cover with an insurer who covers in excess of 300 illnesses as opposed to one that only covers 30, keep in mind that it is the likelihood of diagnosis that matters more.

When taking out dread disease cover, you can choose to put in place either accelerated or stand-alone benefits, and the type of cover you choose can have a significant impact at the claims stage. If your benefits are accelerated, it means that the value of a dread claim will effectively reduce your life insurance benefit by the same amount.

For instance, if you have a life cover of R2 million, and you claim R200 000 from your dread disease benefit, your life cover will reduce to R1 800 000. Stand-alone benefits do not have the effect of reducing your life cover and can be sold separately or in conjunction with life cover. Naturally, stand-alone benefits are generally more expensive than accelerated benefits as the insurer stands to pay out more in respect of claims.

When will a policy payout?

A Dread Disease Cover policy pays a percentage of your cover amount when you are diagnosed with a listed dread disease. Such diseases include cancer, heart attacks, strokes, organ failure & transplants, and Alzheimer’s.

The percentage amount paid out will depend on the severity of the illness, the criteria for which can be found in your policy book. For example:

You will be paid 25% of your cover amount if you are diagnosed with a life-impacting disease (i.e. a condition that needs immediate medical attention but has a favorable prognosis).

You will be paid 100% of your cover amount if you are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease (i.e. a very serious condition that needs urgent medical attention and has a poor prognosis).

Critical illness policies cover a wide range of illnesses, conditions, and situations. So it’s important to compare what different insurers can offer you.

How do I buy critical illness insurance?

The best way to get what you need is to get advice from an independent financial adviser or specialist broker. They can take you through the details of the various policies available and make sure you choose the right one.

The advisor will charge a fee for his services, or receive a commission from the insurance company.

There are also specialist brokers and insurers for people who have had insurance applications turned down, perhaps because of an existing medical condition.

What happens if my illness is not on the list of conditions covered?

If you are diagnosed with an illness that is not listed, you will need to determine whether your policy includes a ‘catch-all’ clause. This clause is designed to ensure you are covered for any disease which permanently affects your health and your ability to function on a daily basis.

Have you heard of Episodic Health? 

How will I be taxed?

You will not pay tax on your severe illness payout. All payments made to you from your policy will be tax-free.

Read:Tax-free Investment Account: frequently asked questions

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