A Will allows you to select who will inherit your assets, be the guardians of your children, as well as who will act as your executor.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a Will?
Yes. A Will allows you to select who will inherit your assets, be the guardians of your children, as well as who will act as your executor. You can also stipulate that assets be held in a Trust for your minor children where it can be easily accessed by your chosen guardians for maintenance and educational needs. Should you require Standard Trust to draft your Will, email us at [email protected].
2. What happens if I die without a Will?
Your estate will be administered in terms of the Intestate Succession Act. Your assets may not pass to the persons of your choice. It can take a long time for an executor to be appointed and it may not be someone you would have chosen.
3. What is an ‘Executor’?
The executor is the person or legal entity appointed by the Master of the High Court to attend to the administration of an estate.
4. Can I nominate a private individual as executor?
You can, but it may not be sensible, given that estate administration is complex, and the individual may not be equipped to deal with the formalities. It is for this reason that the Master of the High Court may insist on this private individual being assisted by an agent whose profession is the administration of estates.
5. Will the executor sell everything?
The executor will only sell assets if the Will directs him to do so, or if the executor is required to do so to cover a cash shortfall in the estate.
6. What fees does the executor charge?
The statutory tariff is 3.5% of the gross value of the estate and 6% on income received by the estate after date of death. If the executor is a VAT vendor, VAT will be charged at 15%.
7. Do I need to include my instructions regarding my burial/cremation wishes?
You may include this as a wish in your Will however, it is advisable that your family be made aware of your wishes during your lifetime.
8. How do I protect my children’s inheritances?
By the creation of a testamentary trust in your Will, you can specify the age or an event at which time your children may be eligible to inherit.
9. In the event of my beneficiaries getting married or divorced, will their spouses be entitled to claim on their inheritances?
Our drafted Wills include a marital protection clause in which the inheritance of a beneficiary is protected from their spouse.
10. What is the Guardian’s Fund and who has control over it?
The Guardian’s Fund is a state-controlled fund that is administered by the Master of the High Court. Funds are retained until the beneficiary reaches the age of 18 years.
11. Do I need to have separate Wills to cater for my assets held in South Africa and for my assets held offshore?
No, however it is advisable to have separate Wills as the laws of succession in each country are unique.
12. How do I ensure that my Will is valid?
Each page of the Will requires your signature. Your signature must be witnessed by two competent witnesses, who are over the age of 14 years and not stated as beneficiaries in the Will. Both witnesses are required to be present at the time of signing.
13. Can I do a joint Will with my spouse?
Yes, a joint Will is effectively two single Wills, in one document.
14. If I do a Will, will it cover my overseas assets?
If the Will does not specify the whereabouts of the assets, it will be considered a worldwide Will. It is recommended that you rather arrange for a separate Will to deal with assets situated in a foreign country.
15. Can I disinherit my children?
In South Africa we have freedom of testation and as such, you can choose your beneficiaries. It is important to note that there is a legal obligation to cater for the wellbeing of a child, especially while they are minors.
16. Will my life policies be included in my estate?
Yes. In those instances where a life policy is payable to your estate, or there are no beneficiaries nominated on the policy, then the proceeds will form part of your estate that the executor needs to attend to in terms of your Will. If you have a life policy with a nominated beneficiary, the proceeds go directly to the nominated beneficiary. It is important to note that, under these circumstances, these proceeds will be deemed to form part of your estate for estate duty purposes.
17. Can my heirs sell my assets after my death?
For the duration of the estate administration, only the executor has the authority to sell estate assets. Once an asset has passed to an heir, he/she may dispose of that particular asset.
18. Can I nominate co-executors?
Yes, you may nominate joint executors.
19. What happens if a beneficiary dies before me?
You may review your Will, or you can provide for substitution i.e. if my spouse predeceases me then my estate will go to my children.
20. What are the benefits of keeping my Will in safe custody?
Your Will is stored in a Standard Trust vault, where it is protected against theft, fraud, loss, manipulation and destruction. The Will is easily available upon your request.
21. What’s the difference between a Will and estate planning?
A Will is a document outlining how your assets should be attended to after your death. Estate planning is the process that you apply to address liquidity, minimise tax and ensure succession planning during your lifetime.
22. What is a trust?
A Trust is an arrangement through which assets are administered for the benefit of beneficiaries.
23. Why do I need a Trust?
If you wish to protect assets on behalf of beneficiaries for a stipulated period and wish to provide for a lasting legacy, then a Trust is an entity that would be utilised to achieve this. It is therefore important to discuss this with a Fiduciary Specialist to ensure that your needs are fulfilled.
24. How do I establish a Trust?
Contact us at [email protected] and one of our Fiduciary Specialists will advise and guide you on establishing a Trust with Standard Trust Limited.