Can I choose who to benefit in my will?
In South Africa, a person can leave his or her assets to whoever he likes, with few limitations. This is called “freedom of testation“. If a person dies with a valid will, he or she dies “testate”, and without a valid will, he or she dies “intestate”.
An executor (the person appointed to wind up the estate) must carry out the wishes of the testator (the person making the will) as far as legally possible. The freedom of testation is limited by the common law in these situations:
There are certain acts that limit the testator’s freedom to choose his beneficiaries in his will, e.g.
If a person dies without a will, his or her estate is wound up in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act.
This is not a detailed exposition of the law but a mere synopsis. Contact your lawyer for comprehensive advice.
Bregman Moodley Attorneys Inc. 2015/089214/21
Physical Address: Suite 314, 3rd Floor, Office Towers, Killarney Mall, 60 Riviera Road, Killarney, Johannesburg, South Africa
Directors: Roy Bregman, Sharusha Moodley & Benita Dayaljee
Associates: Melani Scholtz, Renthia Neethling & Abdul Buckus