Owning property for shelter or as a means to generate income is a wonderful legacy to leave behind when you pass away. This is why protecting your intentions for that property with a will is so important.
If someone dies without a will, their estate is dealt with under the Intestate Succession Act, meaning the government decides who inherits their assets, including any property they own. Not having a clear will is one of the main causes of delays in wrapping up an estate. This can compound problems for future generations because if an heir passes away before the estate they inherited has been finalised, and a property is still not in their name, whoever inherits their estate will also inherit those unresolved issues.
Having a good estate planning product and appointing an experienced executor can go a long way in preventing this complexity for your loved ones. SmartWill, for instance, records each property a client is linked to and determines who the actual owner of that property is. There is also an option to indicate if a property is co-owned and whether there are any other special circumstances. If our system picks up that a client is the owner of a property but isn’t the title deed holder, our legal team proactively contacts the client to resolve the ownership bureaucracy while they are still alive.
The core purpose of a will is to make your wishes clear so that when you pass away they can be acted on. That way, your family isn’t burdened by having to wait for the state to decide what should be done with your estate, including any property. Being front-footed about creating a will and tracking property ownership snags can mitigate significant problems for your loved ones later on.