Estate planning is an essential part of personal financial planning and involves structuring your financial affairs to consider the potential taxes payable by your estate on your death, provide for cash liquidity to meet your estate’s financial obligations and protect the inheritances. Estate planning is often misunderstood and neglected. It is vital that professional advice and guidance is sought in this regard.
Do you have a will? Is it valid? Does it reflect your current circumstances and intentions?
If you don’t have a will, your estate (your assets less your liabilities) will be distributed on your death in accordance with the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987. It is important that you are aware of the implications of this and that you make an informed decision regarding the distribution of your estate after your death.
If you do have a will but it doesn’t comply with the formalities set out in the Wills Act 7 of 1953 you may nevertheless be treated as dying intestate. Unless application is made to the High Court for acceptance of the “invalid” will, your wishes will be ignored and the estate distributed in accordance with the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987. High Court applications are expensive and result in delays in the winding up of your estate, thereby potentially causing additional stress on and prejudice to family members and heirs.
If you have a valid will, it is important to update your will as your circumstances change in order to ensure that your wishes are provided for.
We can help you to ensure that your will is valid, accurately records your intentions and protects your heirs.
WINDING UP / ADMINISTRATION OF DECEASED ESTATES
The winding up or administration of deceased estates is essentially the orderly winding up of the deceased’s financial affairs by the executor. The executor is the person that is either nominated by the deceased in his/her will or appointed by the Master to take control of the deceased’s estate and attend to the winding up of the estate. An estate is all the property (assets and liabilities) belonging to a deceased on the date of his/her death.
Performing the function of executor can be overwhelming for someone without the appropriate experience. We have experience acting as executors in deceased estates and also assist and advise executors with the proper fulfilment of their functions.
DRAWING TRUST DEEDS
A trust is a relationship in terms of which one person (“the founder”) transfers ownership (whether by donation or otherwise) of property to one or more other people (“the trustee/s”) to use and protect for the benefit of others (“the beneficiaries”). The administration of a trust is done in accordance with the provisions of the Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988, the trust deed and our common law. (See our Publications page for our Basic Guide to Trusts).
We can assist our clients with advice on whether a trust is the appropriate vehicle for their particular needs and if so, with the drafting of the trust deed and registration of the trust.