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wills and estates

WILLS

It is very important to have a Will, so that you can appoint a properly qualified executor to administer your deceased estate and a guardian to look after your minor children. In your Will you can also freely determine who must inherit what. While this will be determined by the intestate succession rules, the absence of a Will, may lead to undesired consequences.

If you die without a Will, all money inherited by your minor children will be paid to the Guardian Fund, where it will be administered by the Master and earn very little interest. To prevent this, you can create a trust for your minor children in your Will. Your chosen trustees will then properly manage the inheritance of your children until they reach the age determined by you in your Will, following that it will be transferred to them.

It is advisable that your Will is prepared by an attorney. We will make sure it is properly drafted to carry out your wishes and that it is validly executed.

We can also assist you with deceased estate planning to properly structure your affairs. This can help save costs, limit taxes and make sure your dependents are well looked after.
ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

When a person dies, whether with or without a Will, that person’s death must be reported to the Master.

The Master will then issue a letter of executorship to the person nominated as executor in the Will, or to the person nominated by the heirs in the absence of a Will.

It is the duty of the executor to collect the assets and pay the debts of the deceased. The executor will place advertisements in the local newspapers and Government Gazette, prepare an estate duty return and liquidation and distribution account, liaise with the Master and heirs, make distributions to the heirs and do many other tasks in the course of winding up the deceased estate and complying with all relevant legislation.

The Master will usually require an attorney or suitably qualified person to be appointed as executor to carry out all the specialized legal and accounting requirements involved. If the deceased left a Will and nominated a family member as executor, the Master will require the family member to appoint an attorney as his agent to assist with administration of the estate.

We have acted as executors and agents of executors in many deceased estates and have vast experience in this field.
Our services under Wills and estates include: -
Estate planning.
Drafting and safeguarding of Wills.
Administration of Estates.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does intestate succession mean?
Intestate succession occurs where a person dies without leaving a valid Will. In such an event the intestate succession law will determine the identity of the heirs of the deceased’s estate.
Can I prevent my minor children from receiving their inheritance until they reach the age of majority, or a later age determined by myself?
Yes, you can create a trust in your Will. The inheritance of the children will be transferred to the trust and your nominated trustees will administer the inheritance until the children reach the age determined by you in your Will.
If I disinherited someone from my estate can they still receive benefits from my estate?
Yes, in certain circumstances where a financially dependent child or spouse requires maintenance from you, their disinheritance will not bar them from claiming maintenance from your deceased estate.
Can I nominate anyone to inherit my estate?
Yes, in South Africa you have freedom of testation and therefore complete freedom to appoint any person as an heir in your estate. The provisions of your Will may however not be illegal, against public policy or too vague to be carried out.
Can anyone execute a Will?
You must be 16 years or older and must be mentally capable of appreciating the nature and effect of making a Will.