Does your Will cater for all eventualities

Recently, a family (a mother, a father, a daughter from the mother's first marriage [16 years old] and a son from the mother and father's marriage [11 years old]) were all killed in a car accident. The motor vehicle drove off a bridge and the family all drowned.

The mother and father each had a Will which provided that they bequeathed their estates to each other and failing each other, to the mother's daughter and their son.

As they had all died in the accident, there was no heir in terms of their Wills who could inherit, which meant that their estates would have to devolve according to Intestate Law.

Family members with possible expectations of inheritance now looked closely at whether the whole family had died simultaneously, and it was initially suggested that the daughter from the mother's first marriage had been the last to die.

It was subsequently held that the family all died simultaneously, which meant that the mother and father's intestate heirs would inherit their estates.

However, had the daughter from the mother's first marriage been the last to die, the mother's and father's estates (which were extensive) would have devolved upon her in terms of their respective Wills.

As the daughter also died and did not have a Will, her estate would have devolved according to Intestate Law which provides that in the first instance, the deceased's parents, if they are alive, inherit.

The daughter's mother had died in the car accident. The daughter's father (the mother's ex-husband) was however still alive, and would have stood to inherit the entire estate.

A scenario such as this emphasises the importance of having a Will, and ensuring that your Will makes provision for all eventualities.

Have a look at your Will and ensure that it does! 

  • Added 24 November 2010

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