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Estate planning and administration of deceased estates

We have a well-established and extensive estate and trust department with a multi-faceted approach involving legal, tax, investment and insurance planning.

To meet the financial and estate planning needs of our clients in a rapidly changing South Africa, we offer a diverse range of services, including:

  • Estate planning and advice on applicable tax issues, e.g. estate duty, donations tax and capital gains tax
  • Drafting of wills
  • Administering deceased estates
  • Administering trusts and curatorships
  • Trust law – Advice on trusts and drafting a properly thought-through trust deed.  Review trust deeds in order to ensure that the terms thereof comply with changing legislation and judgments.  Assisting clients with general trust administration.
FAQs

All persons of 16 years and older who own assets and is competent to understand his/her action. A valid Will enables the testator/testatrix to choose who inherits from their Estate and applying their freedom of testation. Should you die without having a valid Will your estate will be dissolved in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987.

The Will must be in writing, the signature of the testator/testatrix must appear on every page of the Will as well as at the end of the Will, two competent witnesses must attest at the end of each page of the Will in the presence of the testator/testatrix and of each other.

A beneficiary, nominated Executor, nominated Trustee and/or their spouses and persons under the age of 14 years.

An Executor needs to collect your assets and make sure your debts are paid. You can appoint anyone to act as Executor but keep in mind that executing an Estate is a specialized field and being an Executor is a huge position of trust. The maximum prescribed remuneration for an Executor is 3.5% of the Gross value of the Estate. However, this can be negotiated with the Executor.

It is important to note that an Executor cannot act unless he/she has been duly appointed by the Master of the High Court. To obtain Letters of Authority/Letters of Executorship from the Master of the High Court, there are certain application forms and other supporting documents which need to be sent to the Master. The appointment of an Executor is only effective from the date of the Letters of Executorship.

An Attorney can advise you on any problem which may arise with regard to your Will. An Attorney also has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your Will is valid and complies with your wishes.

A codicil is a schedule or annexure to an existing Will, which is made to supplement or amend an existing Will. A codicil must comply with the same requirements for a valid Will. A codicil needs to be signed in the same way as the Will.

If you have worldwide assets you would have a properly drawn up Will which is applicable to your assets falling under a specific jurisdiction. You also need to ensure that the Will complies with the legalities of the specific country and takes into account any specific rules applicable to inheritance in that country.

A Testamentary Trust is contained in your Will. You would need a testamentary trust where there are minor beneficiaries under the Will whose inheritance should be administered on their behalf after the death of the Testator. Before the date of your death, no administration is needed, and should all the beneficiaries reach their majority, no Trust ever needs to come into effect. As the terms thereof cannot be amended, the Trust terms that you do include in your Will should be sufficient to properly enable the Trustees to invest, manage, and pay out the income of their inheritance to the minor beneficiaries.

Your original Will should be kept in safe storage, as a copy of a Will is not deemed a valid Will. It is recommended to sign the Will in duplicate for separate safe-keeping. One original duplicate copy could be kept at home and the original should preferably be kept by the firm that will act as your Executor.

Who to contact

Trusts & Estates

Sisteen Geyser

B.Comm LLB, LLM in Tax Law 021 808 5695
Trusts & Estates

Sisteen Geyser

B.Comm LLB, LLM in Tax Law 021 808 5695