“Estate planning” has been defined as the process of creating and managing a program, that is designed to ensure the most effective and beneficial provision for one’s retirement and financial support to your loved ones, once you are gone.
An “Estate” is made up of the assets and liabilities that a person accumulates during his/her life time, and which he/she leaves behind.
The starting point to planning any estate is making your Last Will and Testament in order to achieve the above objectives.
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that communicates a person’s final wishes pertaining to his/her possessions and how they should be distributed amongst dependents and heirs. A Last Will and Testament is one of the most important document you will draft and sign in your life time.
Why is it important to have a carefully written Will
When you pass away, you leave behind your assets and personal belongings. Unless you have left written instructions in your Last Will and Testament on how, and to whom the assets should be allocated, the State will decide for you. Nobody likes the idea of leaving those decisions to someone else, least of all the State!
Where there is no Last Will and Testament the winding up of the deceased’s Estate may be delayed. It may further create unnecessary hardship for the family and it may even lead to disputes and complications between heirs. The Master of the High Court may even require the nominated executor to furnish security, which will create an unnecessary cost for the estate, and a further delay in all this having to raise the security. This can be avoided by having your Last Will and Testament in place with the correct person appointed as executor.
There are plenty more advantages to executing a Last Will and Testament, but to mention a few:
- Protection of heirs from the consequences of a marital regime.
- Protection of minor’s interests from the Guardian Fund.
- Flexibility for a testator who wants to provide financial support to loved ones.
- Planning of personal matters, such as funeral arrangements, guardianship of children and care for pets and the like.
- Creating a rights of use of immovable property.
It is important to realise that a Last Will and Testament only deals with property in the deceased’s name at the time of death.
The Administration of a deceased’s estate is estimated to take up to 6.7 months if there are no major disruptions.
The original Last Will and Testament together with other estate documents are submitted to the Master’s office for the issuing of a Letter of Executorship.
Once the Master has issued the Letters of Executorship the administration process should proceed smoothly. The winding up of an estate is charged as per Law at 3.5% of the entire value of estate plus VAT.
Please do not hesitate to contact our Attorneys in Roodeport for further information regarding the above. Tel: 011 472- 2828