The Responsibilities of Estate Handling Services in South Africa
Whilst in the midst of enjoying our lives, it is all too easy to overlook the simple fact that each of us must, at some time, confront the inevitability of death. In practice, this has long been a prospect that many choose to avoid contemplating more than superficially and, as a result, it is an eventuality for which such individuals tend to make provision only at the last moment, if they do so at all. While this policy of avoidance may help to shield them from the reality of their mortality, upon their demise, it can have serious or even devastating consequences for those loved ones whom they have left behind.
Imagine, for instance, being unexpectedly widowed and left, not only with the cost of a funeral to meet, but with a string of unpaid debts and insufficient funds with which to settle them. What might it be like having to face all of this at a time when your prime need is to mourn? A chastening thought indeed and one that should prompt anyone who claims to love his or her family to take a closer look at how the help of one of the country’s professional estate handling services could ensure that he or she need have no such concerns about their future financial security.
What then should one expect from a firm entrusted with this task? What precisely are its responsibilities? For convenience, these may be divided into those associated with the planning phase and those that are required for the subsequent execution of whatever plan may have been agreed upon. The planning phase is particularly important as the actions implemented here are designed to protect your assets and to maximise their growth and, as a result, the value that will be realised by the named beneficiaries. During this phase of the process, the main role of the estate handling services will be to assist their client in drawing up a last will and testament, and establishing a secure trust fund where this may be of benefit.
When structured effectively, a fund can mean the difference between a temporary financial boost for the main beneficiaries and a lifetime of security that could extend for generations. It is also an instrument that can serve to minimise death duties, taxes and other related costs. Such a provision could ensure that a son or daughter has access to cash sums at the times when they are most needed such as when enrolling in a university, getting married or making the deposit on a first home. Such contingencies can then be administered by the trustees in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.
Prior to such events, however, the selected estate handling service would act as executors. This involves filing for probate, tracing all beneficiaries and potential claimants, settling creditors, distributing the bequests to the beneficiaries and generally ensuring that all of the requirements set under South African law for the winding up of a deceased estate are fully complied with.
Based in Gauteng, Secure Legacy fields a team of lawyers and financial experts with many years of experience in all aspects of deceased estate management. Our team shares your desire to ensure the ongoing security of your family.