Deceased Estates, Will and Trusts
Deceased Estates, Will and Trusts
Legal and Trust
We are able to offer the following legal and trust services at very competitive rates:
- Contracts and legal agreements.
- Estate planning and administration.
- General legal consultation.
- Registration and administration of trusts.
- Wills and testaments.
Whether you are an individual or company requiring the above services, we will gladly assist you.
Estate planning is not only about the accrual and use of your assets during your lifetime - it also involves the final division of your assets at your death for the benefit of your family. To ensure that you successfully transfer your wealth from one generation to the next, it is important that you plan appropriately and by means of professional advice. A trust is a safe and effective channel to ensure that your assets are managed objectively, since it is controlled in accordance with your will's instructions via a trustee who is bound by the Trust Property Control Act.
Types of Trusts
Trusts are created primarily in two ways, namely through a will, known as the testamentary trust, or a written agreement between the founder and the first trustee during the founder's lifetime, known as the inter vivos trust. A testamentary trust is created in a will and comes into operation only at the time of your death. After your estate has been finalised, your executor must transfer the inheritance or trust assets to the trustee. Only then does the trustee take control of the assets. No trustee may act on behalf of a trust or make any decision on a trust asset before the Master of the High Court confirms the appointment by means of a letter of authority. This is the official registration document that contains the registration number, the name of the trust and the full names of all the trustees.
Dissolving a Trust
As with companies and CC’s, a trust mostly has a continuous existence that is not linked to the life-and-death battle which the creator or the beneficiaries deal with. However, a trust is not as everlasting as one might think and a number of reasons might cause the trust to dissolve. “Lastly, legislation changes have either forced a trust to implode or have raised the question if trusts should not be reconsidered and, where deemed appropriate, be given a death sentence,” says Venter.
Important Tips to Remember for Your Will
- Identify yourself in the will with exact precision.
- Sign the will on every page.
- At least two witnesses must sign on the last page of the will. These witnesses must be 14 years old or older.
- Date the will.
- Include a revocation clause if you want to cancel all previous wills.
- Name the executor(s). Find out what powers the law gives an executor and decide whether you want to give him/her more powers in your will.
- Indicate who will inherit your property when you die.
- Check that you have accounted for all your property in your will. Identify your beneficiaries by giving their full names, dates of birth and relationship to you. Identify the benefits you give by describing the property in clear and exact language.
- When you use the word "children", think about which children you want to benefit. Make your will reflect what you want it to.
- Appoint substitute beneficiaries should your first choice beneficiaries die before you.
- If you do not want the spouse of a beneficiary to share in your property, say so in your will.
- Consider whether you want to put your property into a trust, especially where you have minor children. Nominate your trustee(s). Set out in the will what you want the trustees to do with the trust property.
- It is advisable to nominate a guardian for your minor children.
The Importance of a Will
By law a will is a legal document that is considered as your instruction to the nominated executor on how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries.
In handling your Will and your Estate, it is our responsibility to:
Ensure you have an up to date Will which we will gladly draft upon your request.
Collect all information in relation to all assets in the deceased estate.
Investigate and settle all debts against the estate after their validity has been confirmed.
Divide the balance of the assets among the rightful heirs and beneficiaries.