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Administration of Estates

Our services include the following:

  • Drafting of wills
  • Estate planning
  • Inter Vivos Trust formation & administration
  • Application for appointment of curator bonis
  • Winding-up of deceased estates

Wills

A valid will is an essential requirement for any form of estate planning and to ensure that your beneficiaries in fact benefit from your estate. Estate planning in turn is essential to optimise the benefits which your beneficiaries are to receive from a deceased estate. Inadequate or neglected estate planning can lead to unnecessary hardship or avoidable taxes being paid by your estate to the detriment of your beneficiaries.

The following issues should be considered with the drafting of your will:

  • Will there be sufficient liquidity in your estate to pay your liabilities, and at the same time leave sufficient funds to secure financial security of your family?
  • Is it possible to minimise the possible impact of estate duty?
  • Do you have sufficient insurance to cover your mortgage bond?
  • Are there any Capital Gains Tax implications?

We ensure that the correct procedures are followed to create a valid will, and the will is kept in our securities free of charge.

Administration of deceased estates

The administration of deceased estates involves the interpretation of wills and other legal issues arising from a person’s death, such as valuation of assets, liabilities and estate duty, payments of liabilities and the distribution of the nett assets to the beneficiaries of a will. Certain aspects in the administration of a deceased estate include the preparation and lodgement of documents required by the Master of the High Court in order to appoint the executor / master’s representative, preparing the Liquidation and Distribution accounts, preparing Redistribution Agreements, the administration of the estate’s bank account, and distributing the inheritance to the beneficiaries in terms of the provisions of the will. If the deceased died without a valid will, then the distribution of the estate of the deceased is done in terms of the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act No. 81 of 1987.

Estate Duty

The estate of a deceased is subject to 20% Estate Duty, after taking into account a deduction of R3.5 million from the nett value of the estate. So, if the total nett value of the estate is R4 million, Estate Duty will be payable on 20% of the amount exceeding R3.5 million, which amounts to R100,000 (20% of R500,000).

Bequests to a surviving spouse are exempt from Estate Duty and can therefore be deducted from the nett value of an estate.

Curator Bonis

A curator bonis is appointed by the High Court of South Africa upon application of a relative or other interested party on behalf of an individual, who, due to old age or injury has become unable to manage his or her owns affairs. The curator is then accountable to the Master of the High Court.

Trusts

An inter vivos trust is an entity which is set up by you (the donor) during your lifetime, and can be a useful tool in planning your estate with a view to minimising the estate duty that will be payable upon your death.

By acquiring assets in the name of an inter vivos trust, as opposed to in your personal capacity, you can ensure that any increase in the value of such assets over the years will be the property of the trust and will not form part of your dutiable estate.