The crucial role of a will is often underestimated, commonly perceived as relevant solely for those with considerable assets. The story we'll unfold, however, emphatically proves the contrary, illustrating that a will is essential, regardless of one's wealth.

Let's delve into the account of a 19-year-old living with his grandfather on a generational family farm, valued at over R20 million. The young man, left to his grandparents' care due to his mother's debilitating addiction, was the sole heir to this substantial estate after the death of his grandfather. Tragically, the young man succumbed to a fatal accident en route to his grandfather's funeral. With no will in place, his estranged mother was legally positioned to inherit half of his estate, including the farm, under the Intestate Succession Act.

This instance highlights an often overlooked yet profound truth: the necessity of a will goes beyond the presence of material wealth. There are instances when specific considerations, especially those involving minors, necessitate the drafting of a will. Key decisions such as appointing a guardian or setting up a trust for any potential funds obtained outside the estate can be addressed within the document.

For instance, a life policy or annuity holder may nominate their minor children as beneficiaries. Regulatory conditions of the respective insurance institution could lead to trustees disbursing funds to the minor's guardian. This arrangement could prove regrettable if the guardian is an undesired ex-spouse. A clause in the will directing proceeds towards a testamentary trust created for the minor could be considered by insurance institutions, providing a safer alternative and protecting the funds from potential misuse.

For individuals who have navigated the complex world of estate planning, a significant proportion of their wealth may reside in trusts. These individuals may also be trustees themselves, and based on the trust deed, can nominate a successor within their will. In the absence of this nomination, the remaining trustees may select a successor whose interests may not align with those of the beneficiaries.

In essence, a will is a multifaceted tool, empowering you to not only delineate inheritance for your loved ones but also to resolve matters external to the estate. Its significance, therefore, is universal and extends beyond perceived asset value. As such, a professionally drafted, practical will is an essential instrument in every individual's toolkit.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.