About 10% of the South African population has wills

A good financial plan can guide you to financial independence and protect you and your family against an uncertain future. Such a financial plan encompasses all aspects of your financial wellbeing, including the drafting of your will, which will basically be the culmination of a lifetime of careful and strategic financial planning.

“Such a financial plan will ensure your financial independence and that your family will be supported, irrespective of what the future holds. I regard the will as one of the most important documents of the financial planning process,” says Gustav Neethling, director of The Financial Emporium.

“When formulating a financial plan for a client, we will discuss issues like whether that particular client has sufficient financial provisions in place – provisions that will enable the client to reach his or her financial goals. The next thing we will look at will be to draft or update the client’s will to ensure that the client’s family and dependants are properly being taken care of,” explains Neethling.

“Well-known financial guru, Suze Orman, once said, ‘A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life’. This is where financial planning, including will, comes in. A reputable financial planner is trained to look at each client individually and to then give advice that will improve the person’s financial wellbeing and to advise on the best options once this person dies – like what happens to your investments? One needs to look at these aspects, especially if there are dependants involved,” stresses Neethling.

A financial services professional will also be able to advise you on more complicated will issues, like if you have foreign assets, complicated divorce agreements, elaborate businesses, and more, with the help of either his in-house lawyer or a lawyer that he has contracted. “But the benefit of using a financial services professional is the fact that they have insight into your financial history and long-term planning,” adds Neethling, “as neither of the two can be viewed in isolation”.

“It is a well-known fact that only about 10% of the South African population has wills and one of the reasons is that people believe that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. This is not a way to handle your finances or your future. It does not matter how bad the situation is, you will have to confront the facts, do careful planning, regroup, execute and then make provision for what should happen one day when you are no longer here.

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