How can banks help you with your will?

By Staff Writer
Nedbank, Absa, Standard Bank, and First National Bank (FNB), as well as Old Mutual, offer customers a variety of services to help with the planning, drafting and execution of their wills. They assist with the structuring of your estate, the assigning of an executor, and even store a copy of your will for safe keeping until the event of your death, when the executor carries out the terms of your will.
Justmoney investigates the different options that banks provide for will and estate planning.
Calvin Ndlovu, head of operations at FNB Home Loans said: "FNB allows customers to update and draft their wills either by consulting with a FNB relationship manager, banker or financial planner or customers can draft their own Wills for free by visiting FNB Online on"
FNB My Will allows clients to select the beneficiaries of their will, as well as name the guardians for their children and decide on the executor of the estate.
  • This service is free if you draft your will online and appoint FNB Trust Services as the executor of the estate*
  • It cost R340 when the application is carried out through the FNB branch network and you appoint FNB Trust Services as the executor*
  • And the service is R1 000 if you choose to appoint another executor*
The FNB website provides clients with a list of hints for drafting a will. This covers the importance of updating your will when there is a change in your status or circumstances, which may alter the beneficiaries of your estate. It adds that family and friends should be informed that you have a will, as well as what is stated in the will, such as who the executor of your estate will be.
The bank also suggests that you appoint alternate beneficiaries in the event that your primary beneficiary passes away before you do.
When you sign your will, it must be signed by two witnesses who physically saw you sign the will. These people should preferably not be beneficiaries of the will or the spouse of an heir. When the will is signed, you and your two witnesses must sign on each page, as well as next to any amendments you may have made. The place and date of signing must be written at the end of the will.
Standard Bank
The Standard Trust from Standard Bank allows you to fill out all the necessary information on an online form, regardless of whether or not you bank with Standard Bank and is free. The system will then sort through and compile the data, generating a will. Once the will has been complied, Standard Bank highlights that it is important to print and sign the document immediately in order to make it legally binding.
This service is available to anyone regardless of whether or not they bank with Standard Bank. A spokesperson for Standard Bank said: "At Standard Bank, we have qualified professionals who will advise you on how to properly draw up a will. We also ensure that your estate will be administered smoothly and efficiently. Thus, getting professional estate planning advice is crucial, as your will governs what happens to your assets after your death."
The bank stresses the importance of updating your will and ensuring that it takes into consideration any changes that may have taken place in your life. "Life events that will affect your will include getting married, divorced, moving to a different location, having a child and selling an asset or even losing or gaining a business. Unless you review your will, you run a very serious risk of it being totally misrepresentative of your wishes and assets when you die."
Absa offers will and estate planning services to assist you in planning, managing and handling your estate. According to Absa, they offer "estate planning and administration services that will take the maximum advantage of tax and estate duties to ensure your loved ones receive what you wished for them."
When you draft your will through Absa Trust, the experts in charge of your account will manage all your assets, in the event of your death, they will manage any assets and investments that form part of a trust in your estate in line with conditions agreed upon by you and the trustees of your estate.
You do not have to be an Absa client to have your will drafted by them.
  • If the value of your estate is over R500 000 and you appoint Absa Trust as your executor it will cost you R375 to have your will drafted with Absa.
  • If the value of your estate is below R500 000, Absa Trust will not accept executorship of your estate and it will cost you R2 300 to have your will drafted.
The Nedgroup Trust offers clients expert advice in estate planning, ensures that all of your debts are paid off and your estate is distributed to your beneficiaries in the manner that you want. They will assist you in drafting or updating your Nedgroup Trust Will.
When drafting your will and planning your estate, Nedbank points out that there are several costs that need to be taken into consideration.
  • Executor fees: The executor is entitled to a percentage of the gross value of assets in your estate at the time of your death. This is currently 3,5% of the gross value plus VAT.
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): After your death, you are seen to have disposed of your assets to your estate, which means that the estate could be liable for CGT. If the executor has to sell any assets from the estate, there could be further CGT costs.
  • Estate duty: If you are a resident in South Africa when you die, all of your assets, no matter where they are (local or overseas), are included in the gross value of your estate for the purpose of estate duty. An exception to the inclusion of foreign assets is if you acquired the asset before becoming a South African citizen, or the asset was given to you by a non-resident.
  • Administration expenses: This includes funeral costs, as well as the cost of any administration functions that the executor has to perform.
Tertius Geldenhuys, national head of wills at Nedgroup Trust said: "Nedbank provides will services to all customers. You do not have to be an existing Nedbank customer. Nedbank charges R350 for will drafting, provided that Nedbank is nominated as executor in the will. All reviews of existing Nedbank wills are offered free of charge."
Old Mutual
In addition to the services that banks offer for drafting, updating and storing your will, other institutions, such asOld Mutual, also offer these services. Tristan Naidoo, legal adviser at Old Mutual said: "Old Mutual is an extremely large company with a variety of specialists at their disposal. As part of the financial planning process, one's will is taken into account to ensure that the will speaks to their financial and personal circumstances."
He adds: "If one does not have a will, the Old Mutual adviser would assist in putting you in contact with a specialist, called fiduciary specialists, who will draft a will for you, and who will work with the financial adviser to ensure that the will accurately reflects your circumstances. If you already have a will, they would still involve a fiduciary specialist should there be need to update the will."
For estates that are larger and more complex an Old Mutual legal adviser will assist the financial adviser in attending to risks that are posed in the client's estate by drafting an 'estate planning report'. This is done without any additional costs to the client.
"When this report is compiled, one's will, or lack thereof, is taken into account and will include recommendations for the customer to take into account when he or she has their will drafted or updated as the case may be," explains Naidoo.
The process of drafting or revising a will involves three different specialists examining the will to ensure that the client and their family is not exposed to any form of financial risk that may come about from a badly drafted or outdated will.
According to Naidoo, you should update your will "whenever there is a change in one's circumstances or a life changing event… to ensure that it takes your changed circumstances into account."
For more information on why updating your will is important click here.
*The FNB website states that terms and conditions apply to these costs. Price accurate on date of publication 30 January 2015.

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