Connect with us

Personal Finance

Where There’s a Will

Ensuring your will is up-to-date can avoid complications and even heartache for family members.

Bryan Hirsch




Conflicts easily arise amongst heirs when there is either no will, or a badly drafted one. Feuds between family members may continue from one generation to the next, and could have been avoided by clearly stating how the estate should be apportioned. It amazes me how many people neglect this vital document.

Review your will

Where there is a well thought out will it ensures that your family is correctly provided for in the event of your death. If you die without a will (‘intestate’) it is left up to the law to determine who will inherit, usually based on the law of succession. Spouses will inherit from each other, then children and lastly parents before all the other relatives come into the reckoning.
Your will should be revised regularly, even if your circumstances remain the same. It is a good idea to review your will at the same time as you review your overall financial position, but there are other opportunities to do so:

  • Definitely at the birth of a first child, as well as future additions to your family
  • When children become independent
  • At the loss of a spouse
  • At the sale of a business
  • When a family member becomes disabled
  • When there are any changes in your financial position.

Those who applied for amnesty on their offshore assets and where these assets are held in their own name, need to ensure that their wills deal with their worldwide assets. If you have both a South African and an offshore will you need to ensure that the two are in sync.

Clear instructions

Children under the age of 18 cannot inherit directly if they are the beneficiaries of an estate following the death of both parents or a single parent. Without wills their inheritances may be paid into the guardian’s fund, which is administered by the master of the high court. This is not a desirable solution, and is made even more complicated when one child may need extra money and care. Some of the benefits of a well-constructed will are:

  • Clarity about who is being left which asset as assets can be left to quite a few different people
  • The protection of assets left in a testamentary trust — while I am not suggesting one should rule from the grave, thought should be given to ensuring funds are not being misused
  • Provision for donations to charities
  • Rewards for loyal staff who may no longer be required
  • The ability to leave to specific heirs items such as jewellery, antiques, paintings and other valuables as you wish (which will avoid squabbles within the family). Many breadwinners are concerned that if they leave all their assets to their surviving spouse, if the spouse remarries the new partner will get their hands on those assets.

Avoid assumptions

As previously written, by leaving assets to a trust, the assumption is that the spouse will be looked after. That is often not the case, since trustees are concerned that they have to retain the capital for the ultimate beneficiary, the children. With inflation, low interest rates and poor investment returns, this income is often not adequate. The trust will provide for trustees to make capital distributions to the spouse, but they will always be watching how this will affect the capital.
A simple way is to provide ‘mini capital’ for the surviving spouse and the children, by appointing them beneficiaries of life policies. In this way, the spouse will receive a cash lump sum for his or her own use. The children do not have to wait for their living parent to die before they receive the funds left to them in the trust, since they now have their own capital. Finally, in drafting a will it’s critical that you choose both the right executor and trustees. n

BRYAN HIRSCH has been in the financial services industry for 47 years and is a director of Bryan Hirsch Colley & Associates. He has written two books, the first Bryan Hirsch’s Guide to Personal Finance and more recently, Steps to Financial Freedom. Bryan has written for many of South Africa’s top financial and business publications, has been a weekly guest on Radio SAFM for 18 years, and has his own weekly TV show You & Your Money on Summit TV.

Personal Finance

6 Ways To Develop A Millionaire Mindset

Chasing money has remarkably little to do with getting rich.



Prev1 of 7


If you truly want to have a million dollars, you must first be and think like a millionaire. By doing so, you will attract the necessary resources to you.

So, you want to become a millionaire entrepreneur? You’re not alone. Many dream of leaving their job and becoming their own boss, enjoying the various millionaire lifestyles we watch on TV. But there’s a difference between those who dream of becoming millionaires and those who do. And it begins and ends with mindset. If you don’t develop that mindset, you will continue to spin your wheels, working just as hard, but never going anywhere.

Developing a millionaire mindset requires you to stretch your thinking. Start by developing the following six attributes.

Prev1 of 7

Continue Reading

Personal Finance

10 Tips To Become A Millionaire This Year

Becoming a millionaire requires changing your mindset and implementing some changes.

Murray Newlands



Prev1 of 11

Becoming a millionaire may seem out of your reach, but it’s possible with the right attitude and guidance. The fact of the matter is your income can only grow as quickly as you do, so you need to change your mindset to achieve your goal of becoming a millionaire.

Once you have a millionaire mind, you can’t lose it, no matter what financial or business mistakes you make along the way. To get yourself there, you’re going to need some structure. To help you, I’ve outlined the top ten tips you should follow to become a millionaire this year.

Prev1 of 11

Continue Reading

Personal Finance

If You Think These 5 Things, You’ll Never Get Rich By The Time You’re 30

Five common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a business and how to correct them.



Prev1 of 6

Last week, I had lunch with a millennial who wanted some advice about a business he’s starting. After the usual small talk, we got down to discussing his business plan. Within a short time, it was clear that his business idea was great, his plan for executing was fairly solid and he had gathered together a strong team to help him make it happen.

So far, so good. But, to be frank, this guy has no chance of being successful with his current mentality. What it takes to be rich (or successful in any measure) has a lot more to do with your mindset than your ideas and plans.

From the time we started in business at the ripe ages of six and seven, our Grandpa Joe taught my brother Matthew and me many lessons about the details of running a profitable business. Over the years, we learned about how to create a business plan; how to market our products and services; and how to take care of customers, vendors and employees. All this knowledge has been invaluable to us in creating and running successful businesses. But, what our grandfather taught us about attitude and mindset trumps all other lessons.

Without calling out the specific individual I spoke with recently, below are five “hypothetical” attitudes that will get you nowhere in your journey to success – and the attitudes that should replace them.

Prev1 of 6

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.


FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​