Who Can You Trust To Draft Your Will?

Eleanore Hiralall | Attorney: Legal Services Division
Ensuring that you have a valid and accurate Last Will and Testament is one of our most important responsibilities, especially now, at the height of one of the world's worst ever pandemics, where the experience of death is all too real. Of equal importance is who we nominate as Executor or who we trust with our financial planning arrangements.

 This was very relevant in a recent judgment, in the matter of Ditmar and Others v Lotter NO and Others (5296/2020) [2021] ZAWCHC 41, where the High Court was faced with a situation where the financial adviser of the Testator had drafted a newer Will, where he made a bequest to himself in the region of R 8.7 Million.


The Testator was a very high net worth individual who lived alone in South Africa.  His only other next of kin, were his nephews and nieces, who lived abroad. 

The Testator had during his lifetime (in 2011) when he was of sound mind concluded a Will wherein he had bequeathed his assets to his nephews and nieces.

During 2014 the Testator developed dementia which reached a state where he was not capable of managing his own affairs or able to make sound decisions.

In 2017, the Testators trusted financial adviser, whom the Testator had relied upon and trusted for many years, assisted the Testator in drafting and executing a further Will (2017 Will) which Will now also included a bequest to the financial adviser, where shareholding in a Company was bequeathed to him that represented a value of more than R 8.7 million.

During this time, the financial adviser had also instituted an application for a curator to be appointed for the Testator due to his deteriorating health and mental condition.

The Applicants in this matter, being the nieces and nephews, became aware of this bequest and challenged the 2017 Will to be invalid on the basis that the Testator suffered from dementia and was therefore not in a position to execute a Will during that time.


The Court placed reliance on medical evidence to confirm the significant impairment of the Testators mental condition which initially arose in 2014.

In reaching its judgment, the court found that the Applicants had established sufficient persuasive evidence to prove that the Testator was not of sound mind when he made the 2017 Will. 


Ensure that your personal and financial affairs such as drafting of a Will is left in trusted and capable hands. 

When making a Will you have to be of sound mind to avoid issues of dispute which could render your Will being challenged on the grounds of invalidity.

If being assisted to draft your Will, ensure that the person / adviser assisting you does not abuse their power to unduly benefit themselves.

Always seek professional advice.