YOUR WILL SERIES – Example of an incorrectly structured Will

A husband and wife decided to draft their wills which was very simple. If the husband died he would leave everything to his wife, and if the wife died she would leave everything to her husband.

The husband was a very good businessman and owned a company worth R 50 000 000.00 Everything was registered in his name.

The spouse did not work and did not own anything, but she did volunteer work for the SPCA as she had a passionate love for all animals.

The wife’s Mom died and left her R 400 000, which she in turn wanted to leave this to the SPCA and discussed this with her husband, who was happy that she could leave it to the SPCA as he did not need the money.

So they changed their will to read that should he die, he would leave everything to his wife and she changed her will to say should she die she would leave everything to the SPCA.

The wife died a year later and when it came to reading the will, the problems started.

They were married in community of property, this meant that the estates are added together and then divided in half, so she actually left half of her husband’s estate to the SPCA.

He negotiated with the SPCA so that instead of paying them half of their entire estate (property, investments, vehicles etc.) valued at over R 60 000 000, half being  just over R30 000 000, he could pay them R 20 000 000.

He then went to the bank and had to borrow R 20 000 000 to pay the SPCA, the loan was structured as a short term loan over 5 years.   This cost him R 405 500.00 per month and a total cost of R 24 332 050.00.

All of this could have been avoided without costing a cent is the wording of the will was just changed as follows:

I bequeath the amount of R 400 000 to the SPCA and the residue of my estate to my spouse!


YOUR WILL SERIES – Example of an incorrectly structured Will