By Sanette Viljoen
A poorly drawn up will can cause much frustration, especially when it comes to minor heirs. In a recent case two minors lived with their grandparents. Their parents had died and their grandparents were their guardians. The grandfather died and his will directed that a large part of his estate was to be inherited by his grandchildren. The will was drawn up by the grandfather himself in his own handwriting. The two grandchildren were 10 years and 8 years old respectively.
The tragedy of this is that all funds that are simply bequeathed to a minor child must be paid to the Guardian’s Fund. The Guardian’s Fund is a fund that is handled and administered by the Master. The heirs must then be maintained by this fund.
The guardian of the minor children must then contact the Guardian’s Fund and submit a claim for all the children’s monthly expenses, such as school fund, food, clothes, etc.
These claims take a tremendous amount of administration. It is also very time-consuming to service these claims and get the money from the fund. The children are then also indirectly dependent on the availability of civil servants who handle these claims. Every time there is a change in the monthly requirements the guardian has to convince the Master of it, for instance of the difference between primary school and high-school school funds, and then it is once more time-consuming to effect the change.
Therefore, be careful when drawing up your will if there are minor heirs. The best way to avoid the above-mentioned problems, is to establish a trust for the minor children. The inheritance will then go the trust.
There are two ways of establishing a trust for the minors, viz. a testamentary trust or a trust inter vivos.
The beauty of establishing a testamentary trust is that the testator may pick the trustees. He can determine who handles the funds and who is going to administer it on behalf of his children. He can also stipulate what the funds are to be used for, e.g. education, clothes, camps, etc., or he can leave it completely to the discretion of the trustees.
Therefore, make sure your will is drawn up properly if there are minor heirs.