South Africans are pretty happy to spend a few thousand rands on a night out on the town but hold back when it comes to paying a similar sum to have a Last Will and Testament drafted.

It often boils down to being ‘too hefty’ of a sum to consider. It costs money to die, but some have chosen to use their after-life savings on a candlelit supper.

Only 15% to 20% of the South African population have invested their time drafting a will, leaving much of a burden on the loved ones to be left behind.

Many have underestimated the value of estate planning. 

Will or Meal? – Where’s the actual cost?

The cost of a Will can be free or charged on a professional/client basis, and the amount charged depends on whom is appointed as executor. Attorneys may offer will drafting services for free, but this is generally on the understanding that they will be appointed as executor of the estate and be paid the executor’s fees.

Luke Dale Roberts’ iconic restaurant The Test Kitchen in Woodstock, Cape Town, offers a tasting menu with wine pairing priced between R2,250.00 to R3,500.00 per person. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, The Test Kitchen was booked out months in advance.

Recently, I asked one of my clients whether he was prepared to pay more for a meal at a fancy restaurant than what he would pay me to draft his Last Will and Testament. Without hesitancy, he replied: 

“Yes definitely, the meal is well worth it, and you should draft my Will for free because my estate is not complicated.”

DIY WILLS

Purchasing an online Will kit or a ready-to-fill out Will from your local stationery store is far less expensive than using a lawyer. For some, these may seem like a better, more affordable option. However, what you pay is what you get at the end of the day.

These ready-to-sign Wills tend to be generic and do not address the specific and unique needs of the individual. A professional Wills drafter is well versed in the disciplines of the legal requirements of a Will, the implications of how you are married (or not married) and the various taxation laws that have an impact on your estate.

What can I do?

Considering the knowledge required to draft a Will properly, paying for excellent advice when having your Will drawn up by a professional is a small price to pay.

You are not paying for the document itself, you are paying for the benefits of having a qualified professional prepare your Will. 

Have a chat with Wim for advice on estate planning at wim@patherandpather.co.za