Packing up your entire life, leaving your familiar surroundings and moving to a foreign country is an emotional and stressful life event. If you want to be proactive and avoid some unnecessary costs and nuisances while you are settling into your new home country, we suggest the following emigration considerations:
If you have not sold your home or if your property has not been transferred to the new owner before you leave South Africa then you should sign a special power of attorney for the sale and transfer of your property before emigration takes place.
If you don’t sign a special power of attorney before you leave, you will have to sign one overseas before a foreign official (such as a Notary Public) and meet further authentication / apostille requirements. You will have the inconvenience of locating the appropriate official and then have to pay in foreign currency for their professional services and courier fees to send the properly executed document to South Africa. You can avoid this burden and expense by signing a properly drafted special power of attorney before you leave.
South African Assets
If you own any assets in South Africa which you are not selling before emigration then we recommend that you:
(a) have an up to date South African will to ensure that your South African estate can be effectively wound up and dealt with separately from your estate in your new home country;
(b) consider signing a general power of attorney authorising a trusted agent in South Africa to attend to any loose ends relating to this property on your behalf and on your instructions.
Trusts / Companies / Close Corporations / Other Organisations
If you are a trustee of a South African trust, director or shareholder of a South African company, member of a South African close corporation or part of any other business or organisation in South Africa then you should consider (and take professional advice concerning) whether it would be prudent in your circumstances to:
(a) resign as trustee / director / member as applicable;
(b) sell your shares / members interest;
(c) make provision for trust / company / close corporation / organisational matters to be attended to by an agent locally or yourself electronically; or
(d) wind up the trust / company / close corporation / organisation before you leave South Africa.
Future money transfers (inheritance, dividends, trust distribution)
If you are the beneficiary of a South African trust, the heir of a South African deceased estate, the shareholder of a South African company or have any other reason to expect monetary payments from South Africa in the future then you should obtain professional advice concerning:
(a) keeping your tax returns up to date;
(b) applying to the South African Revenue Services for an emigration tax clearance; and
(c) applying to the South African Reserve Bank to formally emigrate.
Obtaining advice appropriate to your particular circumstances before you leave South Africa will assist with streamlining the future movement of money from South Africa to you in your new home country.
Should you require advice further, kindly contact us.