Take a look at our portfolio of services for writing your own Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will.

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LegalWills.co.za – South Africa's most complete online Will writing service

At LegalWills.co.za, we have taken Will writing to the next level. If you prepare your Will with us, you have the opportunity to use our many value-added services that set us apart from a do-it-yourself Will kit, and even a professional Will writer.

If you use a standard Will template, you will receive a 4-page document that is just the start of putting your financial affairs in order. At LegalWills.co.za, we have created a portfolio of services that ensures that your financial and health care wishes are communicated to the right people at the right time.

Put simply, if you write your Will, and nobody can find it, you have effectively died "intestate" and your assets will be distributed according to the government's formula. We get phone calls every day from distraught loved ones saying, "my father had a Will, but we can't find it, what can we do?"

This is what we at LegalWills.co.za describe as complete estate planning, and we think our approach to this is the most complete of any service provider.

At LegalWills.co.za, we have spent over a decade creating a suite of options that address the shortcomings in Will writing services. Lawyers and Will writers have not updated their service offering in a hundred years. LegalWills.co.za has harnessed the power of the Internet and modern technology to offer the most complete Will writing service available anywhere today.

Below is a sample of some of things you can do at LegalWills.co.za.
Don't Worry

Write your own Last Will and Testament

Of course, at LegalWills.co.za you can prepare your own Last Will and Testament. Using the same software used by lawyers across South Africa, we give you direct access to it, and put a user-friendly wrapper over it. So now, by answering a series of simple questions, you can prepare a professional quality Last Will and Testament.

By using our service, you can prepare your Will in the comfort of your home when the time is convenient to you. There are no appointments necessary and no phone calls. There is no danger of a name being misspelled, or of your wishes not being communicated correctly. You are in control, and you enter your information. If you are unsure of how to write a Will, we provide help every step of the way, and also have a trained support team in place to answer your questions.

Not only are we more convenient, but we are also much more affordable. We worked with lawyers to develop the service, but we are not paying lawyer fees for every Will created. As a result, we charge just a small fee for a fully legally binding Will.

In the past, if you needed to make changes to your Will, you would have to go through the hassle of booking another appointment with the Will writer, and potentially pay hundreds of rands more. But not at LegalWills.co.za. All the time your account is active, you can make as many updates and changes as you wish, and you don't have to pay each time.

With our service, you simply step through 10 sections, answering the questions as you go. At the end of this, you download and print your document and then sign it in the presence of any two adult witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the Will. We include detailed instructions for signing a Will, so we ensure that everything is correct.

Our service helps you to write your own Will whilst living in South Africa.

Not only for simple cases

But don't assume that because our Wills are affordable, and that the service is so convenient, that it means your final Will is a simple one. Over the years, we have evolved our service to include lifetime interest trusts, bequests to charities, care for pets, coverage of overseas assets. There are actually things that our service can do that a lawyer cannot.

Describe your funeral wishes

You should not put your funeral wishes in your Will. Your Last Will and Testament is an official legal document that has to go through due court processes before it is accepted (probate). It must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, and every time a change is made to that document, the change must also be initialled, with the initials of two attending witnesses. Once your Last Will and Testament is accepted by the probate courts, it becomes a matter of public record, and anybody can read it.

Your funeral wishes are different. They are simply your wishes, that you hope your family will honour and respect. They often include personal thoughts and wishes that don't belong in a legal document. By the time your Last Will and Testament has been accepted by the courts, your funeral will probably be over.

We provide a separate service for documenting your funeral wishes called MyFuneral™. Within it, you can describe the basics, such as whether you would like to be buried or cremated, but also more personal wishes, such as the music to be played, passages to be read, who is invited, or the mood and theme.

We believe that your preferences for organ donation are better served by this type of document, and this should absolutely not be included in your Will.

Also, critically, you can express your wishes for how much should be spent at your funeral. If you do not communicate this ahead of time, then your family will be left to make very difficult decisions at a time when they are most vulnerable.

Our MyFuneral™ service allows you to express your funeral wishes, and then download a document to be stored with your Will.

Document your important assets and contacts

We would generally recommend not including a list of assets in the Will itself. You don't know when your Will is going to come into effect, and your assets are likely to change over time. This would require you to update your Will every time you opened a new bank account, or made a major purchase. Furthermore, once a Will is probated, it becomes a public document that everybody can read. You may not want details of all of your assets made public.

If a particular item has a specific beneficiary that is different to the main beneficiary of your estate, then yes, it must be included. So if everything it going to say, your son, except for a piece of art which is going to your nephew, then the piece of art has to be included in your Will.

It does make sense to list your assets in order to help your Executor administer the estate. They have to gather your assets, and it is helpful to have the accounts documented so that they can be sure that nothing is forgotten. But not in the Will itself. Your Executor has many responsibilities, and gathering up your assets is one of the most difficult.

If your Executor does not know about a particular asset, for example, a bank account, then the bank keeps it. Eventually, after a period of time has lapsed, the government seizes it.

To help with this, we have created our MyLifeLocker™ service, which steps you through the documentation of your assets. You can then set up access to your LifeLocker for your Executor, so they can download your documented assets at the appropriate time, since all of the information they need has been captured in a single document.

Upload important files to a digital vault

You may have important documents to be passed onto your family and loved ones. Maybe a draft of a novel, a spreadsheet of User ID's and passwords, maybe even a photo, or an audio recording.

Our MyVault™ service allows you to upload person files into our secure repository and then set up access for trusted individuals.

This is another way to ensure that your family and loves ones have all of the information they need to manage your assets if you were to pass away or become incapacitated.

Bear in mind that the law does not allow your actual Last Will and Testament to be uploaded to the vault. A legal Will must be the original signed piece of paper, and scanned, photocopied or digitized copies of the Will are not accepted. The law describing the requirements hasn't changed for 150 years, and we would hope that soon digital signatures will be accepted as a more effective signing process. But for now, your Will must be printed and stored with your other important papers.

Prepare messages for loved ones

How do you make sure that your instructions get to the right people at the right time? Maybe you have some personal messages that you would like to deliver to family and loved ones after you have passed away, but not before.

Years ago, we used a sealed envelope with a label "only to be opened after I have died". But clearly this doesn't work very well, and exposes you to a potentially embarrassing situation.
Perhaps you have a bag of bank notes hidden away in the back of your wardrobe. Or you have a special message that you want to pass onto your daughter. Or you simply want your family to not worry about your passing.

We have developed the unique MyMessages™ service to allow you to send important messages to specific people after you have passed away, and not before. Your messages are unlocked by your Keyholder®, and then sent to individual recipients. It is the sealed envelope for the twenty-first century.

Write a Will for overseas assets in Canada or the US

In today's global economy, it is becoming increasingly common for people to own property and other assets in countries outside of South Africa. Or to own property in South Africa whilst living overseas.

If you are living in South Africa, with property in the US, we recommend that you prepare a Will for each country in which you hold assets. Traditionally, this has presented a problem. How do you find a lawyer in South Africa, who can prepare a Will written under US law for your US property? Or if you have property in Canada, you would need a Will written by a Canadian lawyer.

Using a Will template, or a do-it-yourself Will kit, creates even more issues. You could find yourself cancelling one Will by writing the second Will.

This is where our Expat Will service comes in. If you are living in a different country to your assets, our service allows you to prepare a Will to cover those assets. This "Expat Will" works together with your main Will to cover your entire "estate".

You can use the Canadian version of our Expat Will service to write a Will to cover assets in Canada.

The US version of our Expat Will service allows you to write a Will to cover assets located in the United States.

If you are living outside of South Africa, and need to write a Will to cover assets that you own within the UK, then you can use the UK version of our Expat Will service.

Write an Advance Statement or Advance Decision

If you were ever incapacitated and unable to communicate, the medical team will turn to your family, and possibly your representative appointed through a Living Will. If you do not have a Living Will, it will be left to your family to make some very difficult decisions.

We offer our Living Will service that allows you to express your Advance Directives. Whilst you are still competent, you can express your wishes for key medical life sustaining treatments. You can decide how long you wish to be kept alive, and under what circumstances.

Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide are not legal in South Africa, but there is still a lot that can be specified in an Advance Statement or Advance Decision.

Bear in mind that our service allows you to prepare an Advance Statement in South Africa.

By preparing your own Living Will, you ease the decision-making burden from your family and loved ones, who may or may not agree with each other. If you are unsure about how to write a Living Will, we provide help every step of the way, and also have a trained support team waiting to answer your questions.

Your Advance Statement should be stored with your Last Will and Testament.

How you can write a Last Will and Testament

There are, broadly speaking, three ways to prepare a Last Will and Testament:

Use a blank sheet of paper or a blank Will template

This is the cheapest approach, but the most likely to result in a Will that simply doesn't work. Writing your own Will using a blank sheet of paper is a daunting task even for a qualified lawyer. This is why lawyers generally use software to prepare Wills. The software pulls together established legal clauses that are known to work. It is rare for a lawyer to write a custom clause with no legal precedent.

Even blank Will kits that you can buy from Smiths or Amazon tend to leave you with a lot of blank white space. Some ask you to describe the distribution plan for your estate, or the powers being granted to the Trustee. It is almost impossible for a layperson to do this.

However, they do give a sense of security. You may feel having written your Will using a blank template provides some relief at having completed your Will. Unfortunately, the document may lead to disastrous financial and emotional consequences for your family.

Use a lawyer or professional Will writer

This is the traditional approach, but it is inconvenient and expensive. You are usually required to visit an office or have somebody come to your home. You step through a questionnaire and the Will writer prepares your Will for you. Not only does the Will cost thousands of rands, but it is difficult to update when your circumstances change.

Use a service like the one at LegalWills.co.za

Thankfully, the last decade has seen an evolution of online Will writing services pioneered by LegalWills.co.za. Over time, our service has become more sophisticated so that it is no longer restricted to the most straightforward family situations.

You simply step through our service, answering the questions. You then download and print your Will at the end. Sign this in the presence of two witnesses and you have created your legal Last Will and Testament.

If you need to make any updates to reflect changes in your circumstances, you can do this by maintaining an account. Simply login to your account, make the change, and then download and print the new version.

More and more people are turning to online Will writing services as an affordable and convenient option, that doesn't compromise the quality of the final document.

Who can witness the signing of a Will?

The critical final step in preparing a document using the Will writing service at LegalWills.co.za is printing the document, and then signing it in the presence of two witnesses. This is the one part of the process that we are not involved in, and the one part that, if done incorrectly, can invalidate some of your Will.

But it is not complicated.

Your witnesses can be any two adults who have nothing to gain from the contents of the Will. Your witnesses cannot be beneficiaries, nor can they be the spouse of a beneficiary.

Your witnesses can be friends, neighbours or colleagues at work. They can be married to each other, and they can even be related to you. But they must not be able to gain anything from the contents of the Will.

Who can be a beneficiary in a Will?

Your Last Will and Testament is a powerful document. It allows you to legally describe who should receive which parts of your "estate". This includes your possessions, sums of money, and also percentages of your estate. These are known as "bequests" or "legacies".

Your Will can include bequests like:
  • "my diamond engagement ring to my daughter Sally"
  • "R5,000 to my nephew James"
  • "one percent of my residual estate to the charity Asthma South Africa"
  • "the remainder of my estate to be shared equally between my grandchildren"
Your beneficiaries can be any person or organisation anywhere in the world. As long as they are not terror organisations, or hate groups. Your individual beneficiaries cannot be witnesses to the signing of the Will, nor married to a witness to the signing of the Will.

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