Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who turned 30 on 21 June, is set to receive a £10 million (over R130 million) inheritance that was left by the late Princess Diana. It is reported that the Princess of Wales left an estate worth almost £13 million (almost R170 million), which grew to around £20 million (over R260 million) through investment. Her sons, princes William and Harry, are entitled to half of her estate. The executors of Princess Diana’s estate ruled that the inheritance should only be handed over to her sons once they turned 30 years old.
According to Mark van Schalkwyk, Candidate Attorney at Hahn & Hahn Attorneys, South African law no longer distinguishes between children born within a marriage, those children born outside of a marriage and adopted children. Should a person wish to treat children differently in terms of their possible inheritances, a valid testamentary document needs to be drafted.
“Should a person die without a valid testamentary document, then all children shall inherit equally, should there be any residue left in the deceased’s estate after paying debts, costs, etc,” says Van Schalkwyk.
Basic requirements for a valid will in South Africa
To set up an inheritance for your children, Van Schalkwyk says you need to be aware of the following:
• The document must be in writing.
• The testator/testatrix must be 16 years of age or older and be capable of contracting.
• The testator/testatrix must sign every page in the presence of two competent witnesses.
• Competent witnesses means people of 14 years of age and older who are capable of understanding the purpose of their witnessing the testamentary document and be capable to give evidence in court. The witnesses must also sign the last page, but it is recommended that each competent witness sign each page of the testamentary document.
“In order to set up a testamentary document, is it strongly advised that a person approach someone competent in not only drafting the necessary testamentary document, but also someone that can provide advice on the subject matter,” says Van Schalkwyk.
Five things you need to know when dealing with an inheritance
1. Make a list of the people to whom you want to leave your property.
2. Compile a list of all your property and estimate a realistic value.
3. Decide on alternative beneficiaries.
4. Give serious thought as to who you want to appoint as the executor of your estate.
5. If you have children, decide on a suitable guardian and possibly setting up a testamentary trust.