Wills and wishes: Estate Planning in 2022

Written by Topco Staff Writer


By Giles Maynard, Senior Financial Advisor and Regional Manager at Carrick Wealth


At the start of 2021, the Master’s Office, which administers estates of deceased and insolvent individuals, estimated that more than 30% of working South Africans have a will in place.

The good news is that we’re predicting this number to increase as estate planning becomes a matter of urgency for many more South Africans in 2022. COVID-19 is one reason, but South Africans are slowly waking up to the pitfalls of poor estate planning in passing on their wealth.


The heart of the matter

Along with forcing us to relook at our finances, our long term COVID experience has reshaped our personal relationships in unprecedented ways. 

Forcing us to live further apart from each other, the pandemic has also brought us closer together. In many instances, life in lockdown has necessitated closer, constant contact with our partners and families, sparking a renewed sense of family values along with a desire to provide for those around us long after our death.

We’re no longer just thinking about our spouse or our children, but the well-being of siblings, close cousins, aunts, uncles, parents (who can outlive us), and even close friends. This is what often sits at the heart of estate planning: ensuring your investments and assets are transferred to the right people in the right way after your death.

Interestingly, COVID-19 has also led to a greater desire for some of us to rally behind a cause greater than ourselves. An estate plan can therefore help you allocate a portion of your wealth you no longer need to a charity close to your heart or a worthy community project striving to make the world just a little better. 

At the end of the day, establishing a well thought out estate plan is not about protecting your ‘stuff’, it’s also about leveraging your wealth and possessions for a greater good.


Where there’s a will…

I encourage my clients to think of estate planning as the legal and financial process of ‘passing the baton’ to the next generation. It involves creating binding legal documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out. 

A will is just one part of the estate planning puzzle, which consists of a range of legal documents. An estate can include trusts, advance directives, various powers of attorney and other estate planning matters that can’t be covered in a will.

What’s surprising is that many people, both the young and old, still don’t really understand how a will works or why it’s so important. Yes, having one is a good thing, but it must be accurately drafted and updated regularly to remain valid. A simple mistake such as having a beneficiary signing as a witness could render it completely useless. 

Each year, billions of rands go unclaimed because family members are unaware of certain policies and investments of a deceased relative or because the will was invalid. Remember, without a will, the courts decide. 


Do it right in 2022

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to estate planning. It depends on the individual, which is why it’s crucial to seek out the help of a professional to help you understand how it all works. 

Many don’t also realise that estate planning is not just about the paperwork but the process which involves far more than just pushing around a few numbers on a spreadsheet. When administering the estate of a deceased individual, there are a myriad of risks and payments involved, such as attorney and executor fees. 

This is also why I simulate a ‘mock death’ with my clients, showing them exactly what can happen after they die. It’s my way of opening up discussions around investments as well as giving them peace of mind that all the elements of proper estate planning have been taken into consideration.

Every adult needs an estate plan and to keep it updated because things change all the time, even during the best of times. Even if you skip the resolutions this year, mark this as the one thing you set up for yourself and those you love in 2022.


Giles is a Senior Financial Advisor and Regional Manager at Carrick Wealth. A sought-after investment specialist, Giles assists those wanting to explore both local and offshore opportunities. He creates holistic plans that work together as an integrated solution. He holds financial qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments (CISI), a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA – Cum Laude) from Trinity College, Dublin and an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town (UCT).




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