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Momentum Trust develops online will generator for South Africans

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Momentum Trust, an entity of financial services group Momentum Metropolitan, has partnered with global software provider Arken.legal to offer a free online will generation service to the South African public.

Momentum Trust offers a range of services, including drafting wills, estate administration, setting up of trusts, assisting in trust administration and taking on professional trusteeships in SA.

The company joins a list of local organisations offering a similar online service, including Galileo Wills, SmartWill, MyWillonline and Sanlam.

In 2019, the Master of the High Court said as many as 75% of South Africans pass away without a valid will.

Jeffrey Wiseman, CEO of Momentum Trust, believes this is a national tragedy and can mainly be attributed to the perceived lack of accessibility when it comes to obtaining a legally-binding will.

In an effort to change this narrative, Momentum has introduced the new platform, which works similarly to an interview session and asks the user a series of questions related to their estate and final wishes.

Once completed, a perfectly formatted will is ready for download and print. All the user has to do is to review the document and sign it in the presence of two independent witnesses who are at least 14 years old and able to testify in court, which will make it legally binding.

“We are living in a world where we all have had to face the idea that we, or someone we love, might pass away unexpectedly. With so many South Africans living without a will, we hope that this will make the grieving process a little easier,” says Wiseman.

“There has been an understandable increase in online will service providers of late, but few of them follow the same rigorous process that ours does. When it comes to their will, a user is going to need to make sure they trust the source as there are many subtle errors that can change the meaning of clauses in the will.”

Once the client has downloaded, printed and signed the documents, it is their choice as to whether they store the documents themselves in a safe place, or place them with Momentum Trust in safe custody.

According to Wiseman, a will should always be supported by a financial plan and he advises users to contact a financial adviser if they have any doubts.

Arken.legal says it developed an online will system for organisations in England and Wales as long ago as 2009, and saw a significant increase in demand during 2020.

“Momentum Trust has been a valued client of Arken.legal since 2012 and we are delighted to be working with them on this project,” notes Dave Newick, CEO of Arken.legal.

“As consumers become more informed through the use of the Internet, it is increasingly important for businesses to be able to offer a range of engagement models to meet their particular needs, whether this be an advised service or directly online. We have been developing and delivering comprehensive end-to-end will and trust solutions to South African trust companies for some 25 years, and now seemed to be the time to look at developing a standard consumer-facing online system for South Africa.”

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