It is estimated there is R43 billion of unclaimed benefits in South Africa seating in financial institutions because family members are not aware were left behind by deceased relatives and friends. According to Cliqtech, there are many reasons why this is the case, such as a lack of a valid will, an outdated will or a poorly drafted will.
Most of the money is seating in policies and investments, which the deceased left behind and have not been claimed.
SmartWill has partnered with Clientèle for National Wills Week to give 1 000 South Africans free customised wills.
CEO of Cliqtech Zale Hechter says relatives of a deceased can be able to see if they are beneficiaries of funds left behind for them by their deceased relatives using different apps and companies like benefit exchange, which offers the service for free.
“There are many figures that fly around, but the one that I think is most the accurate is R43 billion, where people have got investments or policies, then they die and people that should be beneficiaries of those don’t inherit that because one knows about it. There is an obligation from the financial institution to try and find that person for his unpaid benefits and there are different companies. The Benefit Exchange is one of them, where you can actually go and put your ID number in.”
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Hechter, explaining why unclaimed benefits in the country keep increasing, says, “When someone dies and they have a will, they will then find out these are the beneficiaries of the will and then it is relayed to the family, to give them a list of what they know; policies and so on. So, if you don’t have a file somewhere, often people take out policies and they forget to tell because they took a long time ago. The family doesn’t know anything .They don’t even know if those files exist. So, when it gets to the executor to wind up the estate, the executor will contact those institutions and distribute those money. But if there is no mention about it, they are lost and that is why you have these unclaimed benefits.”
Hechter says it is now becoming much easier and accessible through technology for people to create their own will. They have developed SmartWill, through which people can create a will and register online.
Hechter says Clientele will be sponsoring 1 000 wills to citizens for free this week on the SmartWill website, as long as they register.
Hechter believes every South African should consider doing a will because without one, the state will dictate how the estate will be divided to family members. He has emphasises, especially if you are married and have children, it’s important to nominate your legal guardians.
A will also reduce family infighting and everyone gets a portion of the estate.
VIDEO: The importance of drafting a Will