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More South Africans are using digital platforms to draft their wills

More South Africans are using digital platforms to draft their wills
28-07-23 / Tau kaVodloza

More South Africans are using digital platforms to draft their wills

In today's complex financial world, planning for the future is essential. One often overlooked aspect of financial planning is creating a will, which ensures that your loved ones are protected, and your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away.

Recognising the importance of wills as a crucial component of financial planning, and the challenges many people encounter in drawing up their will, FNB introduced its innovative Wills on App solution early this year. Wills on App was designed to simplify the process of creating a will by allowing anyone to do so digitally, on the FNB app.

Aneesa Razack, CEO of FNB Fiduciary says, “On completion, the Wills on App process leaves customers with a signed and valid Will that will be updated or changed over time, to align with their last wishes. Whilst the digital process of drafting a will is simple, convenient and easy to use, an advisor is available to assist during the process for any of your estate planning and will set up questions. It’s important for perceptions of Wills to change as it forms an important part of one’s broader legacy planning.” concludes Razack.

Wills on App is much more than just electronic will creation software, it also allows users of the service to gain valuable financial insights into their estate planning, and even access guidance on how to optimise their planning to ensure their loved ones are properly taken care of when they pass away.

Carin Meyer, Product Head of Wills at FNB Fiduciary Services, emphasises the user-friendly nature of FNB Wills on App, and adds that this has played a significant part in the stellar growth in usage of the platform since it was launched earlier this year. “Wills on App is specifically designed to make the process of creating a will quick, easy, and hassle-free,” she says, and this convenience has resulted in a steady increase in the number of people making use of the solution to draft their will over the past few months, with more than 40% of the wills created through FNB now produced digitally.”

She highlights that, in addition to the ease, convenience and cost-effectiveness of Wills on App, user feedback also points to an appreciation of the integrated view they can get of their financial position as it relates to their estate, and the unbiased guidance they can access on the platform.

She says that FNB Wills on App goes far beyond mere document creation, and a key feature of the solution is the comprehensive liquidity assessment option, which estimates the costs involved in administering the estate based on the newly drafted will. "It's an unfortunate reality, but dying actually costs money, and to make matters worse, your debt doesn’t die with you” Meyer explains, “so if you haven't made adequate provision to cover these costs and the debts you leave behind, your loved ones could find themselves in a difficult financial situation."

To help people get an accurate view of whether their estate is in a good financial position to cover these costs and debts, Wills on App provides the option to receive a detailed liquidity assessment once you have created your will, which provides an estimate of the financial obligations associated with administering your estate. Meyer says it’s an increasingly popular feature, with 46% of users who draft their wills on FNB Wills on App clicking through to complete this valuable financial assessment.

Concerningly though, these assessments reveal that approximately 87% of customers who check their cash position against the anticipated estate costs face a financial shortfall, potentially burdening their loved ones with the responsibility of funding the estate's finalisation. However, Meyer emphasises that it is far better for people to be made aware of such a shortfall rather than have their loved ones discover it after they are gone. And the Wills on App service offers guidelines on how they might address any financial shortfalls while there is still time to do so. Possible solutions include taking out life insurance, selling assets to unlock cash, or increasing cash savings. And users also have the opportunity to make contact with an FNB financial planning expert who can help them achieve the estate liquidity they need.

“These features make Wills on App a great checkpoint on people’s financial journey,” Meyer says, “and by making them aware of any potential financial challenges in their estate planning, and enabling them to proactively address these financial risks, Wills on App allows individuals to ensure that they and their family members are well-prepared to cover the costs associated with estate administration, asset transfer fees, and other liabilities.”

"Given the importance of a will, it's crucial to have the time and freedom to carefully consider your wishes and how you want to set up this vital document,” Meyer says, “ and FNB Wills on App puts you in total control, allowing you to draft your will at your own pace, without feeling rushed or pressured by a consultant or adviser; and then guiding you on a pathway to greater financial certainty for you, and a strong financial legacy for your loved ones.”

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