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President Nelson Mandela's Will Made Public - Wives Cut Out Completely


By: Jim Dossey, MS, MBA, JD -

Nelson Mandela, famous during his life as an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, served as South Africa's first black President from 1994-1999. Former President Nelson Mandela died on December 5 th, 2013 at the age of 95. At the time of his death, his estate was valued at approximately $4 million.

Mandela wrote the original Will in October 2004 with codicils in September 2005 and September 2008. Despite Mandela's efforts to avoid family conflict, it is unclear if the Will can prevent future battles over who controls the Mandela name. Even before his death, Mandela's children and grandchildren frequently fought over who should lead the family and who should benefit from his investments.

According to his Will, Mandela bequeathed almost his entire estate to his children and grandchildren. Ms. Graca Machel, Mandela's current wife, and two of Mandela's former wives were completely cut out of the Will. Various staff members received specific bequests of approximately $5,000 each. Mandela also bequeathed approximately $10,000 for scholarships to four institutions he attended.

According to South African law, his current wife, Ms. Graca Machel, is entitled to half of his estate and has 90 days to contest the Will. The executor of Mandela's Will, however, reported that she has agreed to waive all claims to the Mandela estate.

In Texas, a testator has the ability to completely cut his spouse out of the Will. However, because Texas is a community property state, the testator can only control his half of the combined marital property. The spouse will still own the other half of the marital property. Additionally, Texas has very strong homestead protections. Under the homestead laws, a surviving spouse can keep living in the marital home for the remainder of her life, even if the testator gives it to someone else in his Will.

See the full Will here:


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