A Task Best Left to the Professional Deceased Estate Administrators
The loss of a spouse or partner is, in itself, a sufficiently traumatic event. It is, however, a situation that can prove even more so in the event that the bereaved is not sufficiently prepared to handle the financial practicalities that have become the inevitable accompaniment to death in our modern society. Winding up a deceased estate is a process that is clearly defined in law and one that is required to proceed according to a sequence of essential steps for which the responsibility will reside with the appointed executor. The latter may be a family member or a firm of professional executors as indicated in the deceased’s will once validated by the Master of the High Court.
Whether assigned to an individual or to an official body, such as a bank or a trust company, the duties of the executor remain the same. These may be summarised as assuming control over the various assets that comprise the estate with the overall aim of protecting and preserving them. The first practical step in the procedure will be to identify, locate and notify each of the beneficiaries named in the will. In some cases, this may involve tracing the individual names and perhaps hiring a specialised agency to do so. Any expense involved must be covered by the executors, but may be recouped later from the proceeds of the deceased estate. In addition, the law entitles the executor to levy a fee that, excluding VAT, must not exceed 3.5%* of the total value of the estate’s assets.
Before finally undertaking the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries, the executor must first pay all of the debts and administration costs incumbent upon the estate and compile the final income tax return for the deceased. Importantly, care must be taken to ensure that all actions undertaken are fully compliant with the relevant legal requirements. For many, the latter requirement alone is seen as a good reason for assigning the task to a team of professionals with all of the experience required to handle each of the steps involved in winding up a typical deceased estate.
As a Gauteng-based firm with its head office in Pretoria, Secure Legacy has a well-established record as an executor of estates. Composed of a team with extensive experience and both expertise in both legal and financial field, we also specialise in the drafting of wills, the design and management of trust funds and estate planning, both domestic and offshore. As such, Secure Legacy is well positioned to offer clients the added convenience of handling every aspect of a deceased estate with consummate professionalism – from drawing up the initial bequests, to protecting and growing its assets and, when the time comes, overseeing their disbursement.
In summary, the death of a loved one is invariably a time of grief and confusion. As such, it is also a time when the bereaved may lack both the necessary knowledge and the clarity of mind that is needed in order to deal with the various legal and financial responsibilities that are required of an executor. When planning for the future of those dearest to you, Secure Legacy can provide a dedicated team of professional deceased estate administrators to assist you during this difficult time.
*Information correct at time of publication.