It can certainly be said that South Africa has an orphaned children problem as some startling statistics have shown over recent years. The most conservative estimates say that between 3 and 5 million children have been orphaned here, 2.5 million of them by the AIDS pandemic alone!
Other facts are that over 100,00 South African children struggle right now to survive in child-headed households and that children who have lost one or both parents are at greater risk of dropping out of school. These are very sad reminders as we celebrate our youth in this month of June.
Loss through lack of a will
Of course much of the time the dire situations in which these children find themselves is due to the large number of parents who have been unable to provide for their children’s future. Incredulously though, even children from middle-class and wealthy homes have been beset with these issues simply because of the failure of their deceased parents to correctly draft a will!
The Government guardian’s fund
What many parents fail to realise is that even though they may have made adequate provision for their children’s future, when both parents die simultaneously, without a legally compliant will and the appointment of legal guardians, their children’s inheritance can become the property of the government under the Government guardian’s fund.
This is a less than desirable situation and you need only to have listened to the news in the past few years to know that although the fund is set up to protect the vulnerable amongst the young it has been subject to huge corruption, been closed for special investigation of fraud, and consequently often fallen short of its mandate.
An arduous process
Further to this, even when the fund is operating optimally the legal guardian of the children (if one has been appointed) should be able to claim for the child’s day to day expenses, like food, clothing schooling etc, but these are often delayed by a poorly administered and inflexible process (even during the pandemic) which can severely affect the child’s well-being.
Ignorance of the children knowing their rights is also an issue as, if they are not aware of the monies that were left to them being in the fund and they don’t claim it within 30 years after turning 18, it is forfeited to the state.
The will is the way
Parents of young children need to realise that your death poses some important questions – Who will administer your estate and have control over it? Who will you appoint as suitable guardians for any minor children? To whom will your assets be distributed?
As this article has so clearly pointed out failure to draw up a proper will can lead to disastrous and unintended consequences at a time when your family is most vulnerable, and it is critical to use a professional to draft your will.
At Hereford group our specialist Attorneys are at hand to guide you through this important process, ensuring that your will complies with the strict legal formalities prescribed by the Wills Act and ensuring that your true wishes, as simply and clearly as possible, are carried out.
Talk to us today to ensure that your will is the way to protect your children’s inheritance! Stay safe and stay positive!