Is my will valid?

Photograph of Jeanne Mance's will (1672), copi...

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The basic formalities required for the execution of a Will are as follows:

The document must be signed by the testator.

The Will must be signed at the end of the document (as opposed to the bottom of the page). This simple provision, which often trips up an inexperienced testator, has led to many Wills being declared invalid.

If the Will consists of a single page, it must be signed at the end of that page.

If the Will consists of more than one page, each page must also be signed by the testator.

Recent amendments to the Act brought about certain relaxations in the execution of Wills, one of which was that the definition of the term ‘signed’ is not limited to refer only to a full signature, but also includes the testator’s initials.

The testator must sign his Will (or confirm his signature) in the presence of two or more competent witnesses, who must be present at the same time.

The witnesses must also sign the Will, although, in their case, they need merely to sign at the end of the document and not on each page if the document consists of more than one page.

The witnesses must sign in the presence of each other and the testator.

For best practice, we recommend that the witnesses sign each page, as well as at the end of the document. We also recommend that all parties sign in full on each page.

It is not necessary to have an attestation clause or even to date a Will for it to be valid. However, it is important to date a Will because it makes it easier to determine the sequence, if the testator has left behind more than one valid Will, and so, to ascertain whether it is the Last Will and Testament or whether the document has since been revoked, or is revoking another Will.

The Act determines that

via Is my will valid? – Lexology.

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Five things every taxpayer in South Africa should know

The third draft of the long awaited Tax Administration Bill “TAB” was recently published for a final round of public comment. The TAB is an initiative to incorporate certain generic administrative provisions, which are currently duplicated in the different tax acts, into one piece of legislation. Since the TAB is now nearing the final stages of the legislative process, every taxpayer requires a basic knowledge of its implications.

Know your new identity

The TAB provides for a single registration system whereby taxpayers will register for all tax types by means of a single registration form. For example, an enterprise will no longer have to register separately for income tax and value-added tax. The South African Revenue Services “SARS” may, however, allocate various reference numbers to one taxpayer to differentiate between various tax matters. Should the taxpayer correspond with SARS without mentioning the allocated reference number, SARS may disregard such correspondence.In most instances, registration must take place within 21 business days from becoming liable or entitled to register under a tax act. “Business days” now also excludes days from 16 December to 15 January each year. Do not be surprised if SARS asks you to wink at them while you register, as “biometric information” may now be used to authenticate the identity of an individual. This includes any biological data, such as retina, voice, facial or fingerprint recognition. SARS is, however, obliged to put measures in place to secure the confidentiality and protection of such personal data.  In line with the single registration system, a single taxpayer accounting system will also be introduced. Taxpayers will have one tax account with a rolling balance of all outstanding taxes. Payment allocation rules may be applied in respect of a specific tax type and SARS may recover taxes by applying the first-in-first-out rule. This could give rise to some interesting issues where the amounts of certain taxes are in dispute and others are not.

via Five things every taxpayer in South Africa should know – Lexology.

Good accounting improves business competitiveness

Salford Business School

Image by University of Salford via Flickr

BY PHILLIP CHICHONI

The managing director of Swiss bank, UBS,  is in trouble. The board wants to fire him for allowing over US$2 billion to be lost through the hands of  rogue trader Kweku Abodoli. One of the largest financial institutions in the world, UBS’s financial control systems failed to detect fraudulent activities and suffered a huge loss as a result.

I asked a number of small business owners if they knew how much money they were making each year. Frighteningly, the majority did not know exactly. As long as there was cash in the bank, they did not bother themselves with much else as regards the financials of the company. So if an employee finds a way of defrauding them, they would have no way of detecting it.

Lack of accounting and financial control systems is a big problem among SMEs. They cannot measure their success, growth and efficiency. With no budgets and cash flow management systems, business decisions are made in the dark and on an ad-hoc basis. An accounting system helps in managing finances, maximising returns on investments while improving the competitiveness of businesses.

Your accounting system should provide an accurate picture of your business and how it is performing. Setting up a good accounting system and understanding the numbers produced can make a major difference in how your business fares in the long run. The financial statements produced from your accounting system will help you in several ways.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE REALLY MAKING MONEY

A good accounting system should tell you how much money you are making in terms of total sales, the cost of the goods sold, expenses and net profit. Success in business is measured in financial terms. The financial results at the end of a period will reflect how successful the business was in the given period. Comparing the financial results over time will show if the company is growing and improving in efficiency.

via SME Chat:Good accounting improves business competitiveness.

Dice loaded against black women in business

A dentist by profession, she started her business supplying medical equipment to state hospitals nine years ago.

In spite of her impressive professional qualifications – a Medical University of SA dentistry degree, an honours degree from Stellenbosch University and a masters from the University of Pretoria – she battled to find a bank or institution willing to consider her business plan, never mind give her a loan.

Even state funding entities set up to advise and finance small and medium enterprise start-ups were not interested, she says.

“Culturally, you’ve got problems.

“In Africa, the woman is regarded as someone who has to take care of her family full time and nothing else.

“And banks do not believe in funding entrepreneurs who are female.

“When you go to the banks, they do not believe you are capable of doing it.

“Men are the only people who can succeed in running a business.

“We are supposed to be employed or in the kitchen.

“When you come with a business plan to a bank they resist, they don’t believe it will succeed.”

Eventually a bank agreed to give her a R30000 overdraft.

“They were better than other banks which rejected me altogether. They didn’t even want to hear my story.”

Mzizana is outraged that institutions the government started with the express purpose of financing small businesses, and which are forever trumpeting their achievements in this area, showed her the door as quickly as any of the commercial banks.

“These are organisations that claim to be helping women’s businesses. They are actually not doing that at all.

“That’s why there are no women businesses that are successful. They open and within one year they’ve closed down.

“If you keep going for five years you’ve done very well as a woman.”

via Dice loaded against black women in business – Business LIVE.

How much money do you *really* need to start your company?

Scott Kveton

Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

I keep hearing startup entrepreneurs tell me “We need funding. If we just had $XXXk of investment, we’d be killing it right now.” I press them with one question: what would you do with the money if you had it? Inevitably the question is met with a blank stare. Most of the time people haven’t thought about it. The answers that do come feel a little half-baked:

“Buy a bunch of ad words to get people to our site – that’s all we need”

“Build the product”

“Finish the product”

“Hire a bunch of sales guys”

Sure you have an idea and investment is flowing right now. Unfortunately, your idea is totally worthless. I repeat: your idea is totally worthless. If you can turn your idea into a product that people want to pay for, that’s a different story.

via How much money do you *really* need to start your company? « Scott Kveton.

Entrepreneurial solutions for a thirsty planet

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...

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WHEN you can stroll over to a tap whenever you like and help yourself to a glass of clear, cool water, it is hard to believe that one of the biggest business opportunities of the 21st century, and one of the best opportunities for business to give back to society, lies in supplying fresh water.

But global demand for water has grown six-fold over the past century, while the population has quadrupled. If this trend continues, our current resources and infrastructure will not be sufficient to supply enough water to meet demand. While the global water industry is diversified and, in terms of committed capital, ranks on a par with the oil, gas and electricity industries, it has not attracted much private investment. It’s time for entrepreneurs and business leaders to get involved, because finding creative solutions to these challenges will require not just great political leadership and innovative research, but a transformation of business itself.

The perception of plenty is only an illusion: most of the earth’s fresh water is frozen in the polar ice-caps, trapped in the soil or in deep, inaccessible underground lakes; only 1% of all fresh water is available for people to drink and use. For the most part, the water sources we rely on — lakes, rivers, reservoirs and underground — are renewed by rain and snowfall. Our use should be sustainable in theory, but in some cases, we have already crossed the line and are depleting these sources. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, more than 60% of the world’s population will lack fresh water for drinking and cooking.

If you are an entrepreneur hoping to make a difference in your community or society, this is a sector you should consider. With so many people in need, and different challenges facing every region, there are limitless possibilities for innovation: new and better means of supply, delivery, recycling and treatment. The related area of water conservation touches on every aspect of life, from how people brew their morning tea to how companies manufacture goods.

via BusinessDay – RICHARD BRANSON: Entrepreneurial solutions for a thirsty planet.

Success for SA designer

Clothing in store, ready to wear, off the rack...

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Johannesburg – South African-born fashion designer and entrepreneur Lesego Malatsi has gone from stitching ready-to-wear garments in a Soweto township mall set amid shanties to savouring the sweet success of London’s fashion week.

Malatsi had his first international show at the weekend in the British capital, where he displayed a collection of new-look African prints at the Fashions Finest event backed by Richard Branson‘s Virgin Unity initiative.

“Honestly, you don’t know how to prepare,” Malatsi said from London in a telephone interview with Reuters.

Malatsi has taken a long road to London that started in a tiny home in Soweto.

He first tried his hand at accounting after leaving high school, but a stint at a cosmetics company altered his career aspirations.

“(It) changed my mind and how I saw things,” he said.

He then studied fashion at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and has been making clothes since.

via Success for SA designer: Fin24: Entrepreneurs.