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Wills & Estates

ADA has many years of experience in the administration of deceased estates. We offer a sympathetic, personal, professional service to make life easier for the family or other loved ones on death.

ADA will ensure that your estate is administered efficiently and as expeditiously as possible.

Administration of Deceased Estate

The usual steps which are taken in the process of winding up a deceased person's Estate, where the value of the assets exceed R50 000 are:

  • At the death of a person, his/her Estate is reported at the office of the Master, who issues Letters of Executorship, in terms of which the Executor is authorised to administer (wind up) the Estate.
  • After the Letters of Executorship have been issued, a notice is published in a local newspaper and the Government Gazette, in which debtors are requested to pay their debts and creditors to submit their claims against the Estate within 30 days after the date of publication of the notice.
  • All amounts owing to the Estate are collected. Fixed property, movable property and shares are appraised by persons specially appointed by the executor, and bank balances are obtained. Unless the Will provides otherwise, Estate assets may only be sold to pay debts, or with permission of the heirs.
  • If the Estate is solvent, the Estate debts are paid, or arrangements are made of the taking over of debts by heirs.
  • Approximately six months after the appointment of an Executor, an Estate Account is prepared and submitted to the Master.
  • This Account is a report of all the assets and liabilities as at the date of death and it also reflects the distribution of the nett surplus between the heirs. This distribution takes place in accordance with the directions in the Will, or where the deceased died without a Will, the distribution is done in terms of the law of intestate succession.
  • The Master examines the Account and if he is satisfied therewith, an advertisement is placed in a local newspaper and the Government Gazette to the effect that the account is available for inspection, should any interested person wishes to object to the Account.
  • After the Account has lain free of objections, inheritances are paid over to the heirs and any property which he/she inherits is handed over to them. Fixed property, such as a house, is formally registered in the Deeds Office in the name of the heir.
  • After all the assets have been handed over or transferred to the heirs, and all debts of the Estate have been paid, application is made to the Master for the discharge of the Executor, and this finalises the Estate.

REQUIREMENTS WHEN REPORTING A DECEASED ESTATE

  • Personal information
  • Will
  • Deceased’s Identity document
  • Death Certificate
  • Surviving Spouse’s Identity document
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Antenuptial Contract - (marriage out of community of property)
  • Previous marriage
  • Full Names of the previous spouse
  • Divorce Order and Agreement
  • Predeceased Spouse
  • Full Names
  • Date and Place of Death
  • Children’s

Drawing a Will

A Will is probably the most important document you will sign during your lifetime. If you die without a Will the assets in your estate which you have worked so hard to accumulate during your lifetime, may not end up in the hands of the people you would wish them to. We will structure your Will to ensure that the right persons or institutions inherit precisely that which you wish them to inherit. We will be very happy to be nominated as the Executors of your estate to ensure that your estate is administered properly and we will ensure that your Will is signed and witnessed correctly so that it is a valid document and that no problems will arise on your death.

The making of a Will is a task which many try to avoid or to put off for as long as possible. Others again suspect that the making of a Will might hasten their own death and thus they treat it as a formality best left until the last minute or perhaps forgotten about altogether. Whatever one's psychological approach or attitude, the making of a Will is a serious and important undertaking as it involves the distribution of one's estate, one's hard earned assets, among those left behind. It might take the form of an out-and-out bequest or a condition may be attached to the bequest which can assume various forms such as allocating the income of an asset to one person and the capital to another. As a Will is in effect a man's final instructions to his executor to deal with his assets which he has accumulated during his lifetime and contains arrangements regarding, inter alia, the welfare of those left behind, it ought to be a document which clearly expresses the testator's intention. The drafting of a Will requires careful thought and an understanding of all the legal, fiscal and financial repercussions with special reference to estate planning to ensure that the estate will be administered to the best advantage and that the impact of estate duty, income tax and donations tax is reduced to a minimum. The absence of a Will can lead to a delay in the initial stages of administration of an estate as the Master of the High Court is required under such circumstances to convene a meeting of interested parties to nominate an executor. Such delay might have serious repercussions particularly where a business undertaking is involved. Various other disadvantages could arise, particularly where minors are concerned.

ADA will draft your Will for you so as to ensure that the right persons or institutions inherit precisely that which you wish them to inherit. ADA will be very happy to be nominated as the executors of your estate to ensure that your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes and they will ensure that one's Will is properly signed and witnessed so that it is a valid document and that no problems will arise on your death.

The general rule is that, if you are ordinarily resident in South Africa at the time of your death, all one's assets, wherever they may be situated, form part of the total value of one's estate on which liability for estate duty will be determined. The nett value of one's estate is determined when certain deductions are made from the total value of all property included in the estate. The dutiable amount of one's estate is determined when the fixed deduction of R3 500 000.00 permitted is deducted from the nett value. Estate duty will be levied on the dutiable amount of your estate at the flat rate of 20%.

ADA will offer advice on estate planning in order to reduce the payment of estate duty on your death for the benefit of your heirs.

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