Wills, Estates, Trust
Your greatest assets are not how much you have accumulated over your lifetime…it is your family. Protect them by planning your estate.
Generally speaking, a will is a document that stipulates how your property, possessions, money and other assets will be distributed when you pass away. It will also give you peace of mind that your estate will be taken care of.
We highly recommend that every person who has liabilities and assets execute a will. In this regard, we offer the following services:
- Drafting and registration of Wills
- Estate executor services
A deceased estate comes into existence when a person passes away, and deceased estate administration is the process of winding up the affairs of such deceased person.
Our law requires that a deceased estate be reported to the Master of the High Court within six weeks of date of death. If the deceased person left a will, the estate’s assets must be disposed of in terms of such will.
Our services when attending to the administration of a deceased estate are broadly summarised in the following steps:
- Reporting the estate and appointment of the Executor
- Publication of Notices to Creditors
- Collecting information to prepare the Liquidation and Distribution Account (the “L&D Account”).
- Preparing and filing the L&D Account;
- Liquidating and distributing the estate in terms of the L&D Account; and
- Finalisation of the deceased estate.
Please note that we also accept appointments as Executors, and can act as agents to relatives or others that may be nominated as Executors by the deceased.
A trust is a legal institution in which a person, known as a trustee, subject to supervision, holds or administers property, for the benefit of another person or persons (beneficiaries) or for the furtherance of another purpose.
A trust is created by a person, known as the Founder. The Founder will entrust the Trustees with all or part of his/her property. The trustee is obliged to hold and administer such property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The trust is governed in terms of a trust document, and in terms of the Trust Property Control Act. The Founder of a trust can also be a Trustee and beneficiary of the trust created.
There are different types of trusts, the main division based on the manner of creation:
- Living Trusts
A living trust is created during the founder’s lifetime
- Testamentary Trusts
A testamentary trust is created in a will and comes into being after the death of the testator (person who created the will).
- Trusts created by a High Court order.
Please note that Trusts are further distinguished according to their nature or object, for example business trusts, family trusts, vesting trusts, discretionary trusts, public benefit trusts, etc.
Your own unique circumstances will dictate which trust will suit you best, for instance will it be for business or for estate planning etc.
There are a lot of advantages in having a trust. For instance, if your property is registered in the trust, and you are a beneficiary of the trust, then the property no longer forms part of your personal estate and is therefore protected from your creditors, even if you are declared insolvent.
If you transfer property to a trust, the effect is that the property is no longer an asset in your estate and no longer susceptible to estate duty that would otherwise have been payable on your passing away. Trusts can also be used to limit tax payable.
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Our property law service encompasses a full range of conveyancing for individuals and commercial clients