In South African law, the drafting of a will is a crucial process that allows individuals to specify how their assets should be distributed after their passing. However, there are instances where individuals may not be able to draft their will personally, leading to the question of whether someone else can negotiate the drafting of a will on their behalf. Let’s delve into this topic and explore the relevant provisions in South African law.

Can Someone Negotiate the Drafting of a Will on Behalf of Another?

Under South African law, someone can negotiate the drafting of a will on behalf of another individual. This can be done through a legal representative, such as an attorney, acting on behalf of the testator. Section 2(1) of the Wills Act 7 of 1953 stipulates that a will must be in writing and signed by the testator or by another person in the presence and at the direction of the testator.

Circumstances Allowing Representation in Will Drafting

The law allows for representation in will drafting in cases where the testator is physically unable to draft the will themselves, such as due to illness or incapacity. In such instances, a legal representative can assist in the drafting process, ensuring that the testator’s wishes are accurately captured in the will document.

Understanding Incapacity in Will Drafting

In the context of will drafting, the concept of incapacity refers to a state where an individual is unable to make decisions or communicate their wishes effectively. Incapacity can arise due to various factors, such as physical or mental illness, cognitive impairment, or advanced age. In South African law, the determination of incapacity is essential in cases where someone may require assistance in drafting or executing a will.

Defining Incapacity in South African Law

The legal framework governing capacity and incapacity in South Africa is primarily outlined in the Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002. This Act provides guidelines for determining when an individual lacks the mental capacity to make decisions, including decisions related to estate planning and drafting of a will.

Under the Mental Health Care Act, a person may be considered incapacitated if they are unable to understand the nature and consequences of their decisions, communicate their wishes effectively, or manage their affairs due to a mental disorder or cognitive impairment. In such cases, the law recognizes the need for appointed representatives, such as legal guardians or attorneys, to act on behalf of the incapacitated individual in legal matters, including will drafting.

Circumstances Leading to Incapacity

Some common circumstances that may lead to a person being considered incapacitated for the purpose of will drafting include:

1. Dementia: Progressive cognitive conditions such as dementia can impair a person’s ability to make sound decisions and communicate effectively.

2. Severe Illness or Injury: Temporary or permanent physical or mental conditions resulting from illness or injury may render an individual incapable of managing their affairs.

3. Advanced Age: With age, individuals may experience cognitive decline that impacts their decision-making abilities.

4. Intellectual Disabilities: Individuals with intellectual disabilities that affect their understanding and communication skills may require assistance in will drafting.

Safeguarding the Rights of Incapacitated Individuals

When dealing with individuals who are deemed incapacitated, it is essential to uphold their rights and ensure that their best interests are protected. By following the legal provisions and obtaining the necessary authorizations from the appropriate authorities, such as the Master of the High Court, individuals acting on behalf of the incapacitated person can ensure that the will drafting process is conducted lawfully and ethically.

Essentially, understanding the concept of incapacity in will drafting is crucial for ensuring that the wishes of individuals who are unable to make decisions independently are respected and legally upheld. By seeking guidance from legal professionals well-versed in estate planning and capacity issues, individuals can navigate the complexities of will drafting with confidence and ensure that their legacy is preserved according to their intentions.

Considerations and Information Required in Will Drafting

When drafting a will, several considerations must be considered to ensure its validity and effectiveness. Some key factors to consider include:

1. Clear Instructions: The testator or their representative should provide clear and specific instructions on how they wish to distribute their assets.

2. Beneficiaries: Details of beneficiaries and their relationship to the testator must be clearly outlined.

3. Executor: Naming an executor who will be responsible for administering the estate is essential.

4. Witnesses: The will must be signed in the presence of witnesses who are not beneficiaries to ensure its validity.

Invalidation of a Will under the Wills Act

In the context of understanding will drafting and representation in South African law, it is essential to consider the provisions of Section 2 of the Wills Act 7 of 1953, which outline the requirements for a valid will. Failure to meet these requirements can result in the invalidation of a will, thereby underscoring the importance of meticulous adherence to legal formalities in the estate planning process.

Under Section 2 of the Wills Act, several factors could potentially invalidate a will including the lack of mental capacity of the testator or undue influence or coercion exerted on the testator. It is therefore critical that the representation of a testator is dealt with proficiently, ethically, and meticulously to avoid nullification of the will in question.

Rasiluma TD Attorneys Inc: Your Partner in Will Drafting

At Rasiluma TD Attorneys Inc., we understand the importance of effective will drafting and representation. Our experienced team can assist individuals in drafting wills, ensuring that their wishes are accurately captured and legally binding. Whether you require assistance due to incapacity or simply seek professional guidance in the process, our firm is here to help.

Contact us today to learn more about our will drafting services and how we can assist you in safeguarding your legacy through a comprehensive and legally sound will document.

In conclusion, while the law permits representation in will drafting under certain circumstances, it is essential to seek professional guidance to ensure that the process is carried out correctly. By partnering with a reputable law firm like Rasiluma TD Attorneys Inc., individuals can rest assured that their estate planning needs are expertly handled, providing peace of mind for the future.


1. Wills Act 7 of 1953. Available at: (accessed on 06 May 2024).

2. Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002.Available at: (accessed on 06 May 2024).

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