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Who should undergo an estate planning exercise?

Thorough estate planning could benefit anyone. However, if you have growing wealth or own your own business, you should definitely look into speaking to an expert in the field. FNB Trust Services can assist with this. We have a number of estate planning experts on our staff, suitably qualified in law, taxation and financial planning.

What should a will contain?

In brief, a will should contain the following:

  • The identity (full names) of the person whose will it is
  • The beneficiaries of the estate and the inheritance each is to receive
  • It may contain a clause for the setting up of a trust (for example if beneficiaries are under the age of 21) and details regarding the powers of trustees
  • There could be a clause where you nominate someone to act as a guardian to a minor child
  • A will can be used to protect an inheritance from the legal ramifications of a particular type of marriage
  • The name of someone or a particular institution nominated as executor. It may also nominate someone as trustee
  • The will may also state that the executor is exempt from providing security - in the form of an insurance policy - for the value of the assets in the estate

Who should sign the will?

You, being the Testator (male) or Testatrix (female), need to sign each page of the will, together with two witnesses. Any alteration also needs to be signed in this manner. The place and date of signing must be written in at the end of the document.

How important is it to appoint alternate heirs?

It is always wise to include alternate heirs in your will. If you do not nominate alternate heirs, your intestate heirs (nearest blood relatives) will inherit your estate.

When should I review my will?

Your will should be reviewed periodically, especially when there has been any change in your status or circumstances, or those of your beneficiaries, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, etc. Another good time to review your will would be after any changes in legislation that could affect your estate.

What do I need to tell others?

In order to ensure that the wishes expressed in your will are put into effect at the time of your death, your family and friends should know the following:

  • Whom you have nominated as your executor
  • That your executor should be notified immediately in the event of your death
  • The whereabouts of your will (FNB Trust Services can hold the original document for you for a small annual fee)
  • Your wishes regarding funeral arrangements
  • Whom to contact if you wish to donate organs or tissues

Should I draft my own will?

You should always seek expert and professional advice when you want to draft or review your will. Attempting to draft the will yourself could result in the will being invalid, or could cause unintended consequences due to incorrect wording used.

What else do I need to know?

Should you want to donate your organs, you will need to take out a Living will. This is different to the will discussed here.

Will the way in which I choose to marry have an impact on my estate?

Yes. If you get married in community of property, all assets are jointly owned by both husband and wife. This means that you cannot leave an asset in full to someone other than your spouse, since you only own half the asset. With cash this is not much of a problem, but the executor will have great difficulty in dealing with something like a house. Similarly, both spouses are liable for the debts of each other. Marriage out of community of property offers far better estate planning opportunities. An ante nuptial contract (ANC) may be used to secure certain assets for a spouse and also protect personal assets against debt - such as in the case where one of the spouses has a business.

What happens if we are not married but are living together?

There is little legal protection for a partner in the event of the relationship ending. There is a need for people involved in such relationships to carry out careful and thorough planning of their estates. The advice of an estate planner should be sought in this regard.

How will my estate be affected if I'm divorced?

If you are liable of maintenance in terms of your Divorce Order, you should put in place a special plan to meet this obligation. Otherwise, your estate will probably face a major claim for a lump sum for this maintenance need. It is also crucial to have a new Will drafted as soon as you get divorced.

What happens if I have a child outside of marriage or adopt a child?

Namibian law no longer distinguishes between children born within marriage, those born outside of marriage, and those adopted. If you wish to treat such children differently in terms of inheritances, your will should be drafted accordingly.

When should I consider setting up a trust?

Where children could inherit while under the age of 21, your will should make provision for a trust to be set up to house the inheritance. If the inheritance consists of a reasonably substantial amount, the opportunity for growth in the capital value of the inheritance, as well as for flexible use of the funds, is far greater if a trust holds the inheritance than if it is paid over to the Guardian's Fund.

If I don't have a will, will my children inherit from me when I die?

This will depend on whether you are married or not. If you are married, your spouse is entitled to a minimum of N$50 000.00 of the estate. If the value of the estate is greater than this amount, whatever remains will be shared equally among the spouse and your children.

If I get divorced, but don't remarry, must I change my will?

Many people don't realise that the law will uphold a will leaving assets to a former spouse, despite the fact that the couple may have got divorced. If you don't amend your will within three months of getting divorced, your former spouse will inherit from you.

My spouse and I are married in terms of Hindu/Muslim religious law only, will we inherit each other's assets?

Namibian law does not fully recognise your marriage. Unless you have a will that names your spouse as a beneficiary, they will not be entitled to any of your assets. The same applies to heterosexual couples living together and same-sex unions.

Drafting wills

Our will drafting service is offered free of charge

There are many reasons to draft or update a will, but estate planning is particularly important where one has been involved in more than one relationship or marriage, and also to help limit the tax impact on your estate.

Why estate planning

Devise a holistic plan

  • The ultimate goal of estate planning is to devise a holistic plan for an individual's life and affairs
  • Many estates lack sufficient available cash to settle debts. This may result in hardships for family members who will either have to provide cash themselves or agree to the sale of other assets to generate the cash needed
  • Ongoing planning for liquidity needs of an estate is a vital element of estate planning
  • If you have a business, estate planning also considers issues such as how a business is structured, whether business creditors could attach personal assets, tax ramifications for one's personal affairs, etc.

What a will is

Directions on how to divide your assets

A will is a written instrument containing directions on how the assets of the person making the will shall be divided on his/her death. The will must be executed in accordance with the laws of the country in which the person making the will resides.

Why you need a will

Let your wishes be known

Why is it important to have a will?

If a person dies without leaving a will, or if the will is not valid for any reason, the beneficiaries will be determined according to legislation - the Law of Intestate Succession. Essentially, the law determines who the closest blood relatives are and distributes the assets in terms of this.

Each situation will be different, but the important point to note is that a family member you may never have chosen to inherit from you could end up with all your assets. In addition, if you live with someone, but aren't married to the person, the law will not recognise your so-called 'common-law spouse' as the beneficiary of your estate if you haven't left a will naming them as beneficiary.

By drafting a will and planning for the future of your estate you ensure that

  • You protect the inheritance of children under 21
  • Your wishes are carried out
  • If you own a business, family remains protected against your debt liability
  • You can update your will at any time
  • Your Will is recognised by law as the expression of your wishes
  • You save on estate duty as a result of proper planning

Factors to remember

Keep it simple

Keep the wording as plain as possible

Use full names

When referring to a person, use their full name and a short description - for example, my nephew, John Adams

Be specific

Avoid using vague terms, such as 'cash'

Be clear

Ensure that you understand each clause in the drafted document and that will reflects your wishes

Keep it current

Make sure that your will reflects your current situation at all times

Use an expert

If the will is complicated, rather have a person with expertise revise it

Getting it made easy

Drafting wills

Qualifying criteria

16 years and older

How to get it

Start Application Now

Other ways to apply

Contact us