3 Practical Steps to Ensure Effective Estate Planning in 2024 and Beyond

Have your Will drafted (or updated) by a professional The first, most essential step in your estate planning journey is to ensure that you have a valid Will in place. In South Africa, a valid Will determines who your beneficiaries will be and how your estate will be distributed when you pass away. Having a […]

Protecting Your Unborn Beneficiaries: The Nasciturus Fiction

The South African law relating to a deceased person’s estate, and who their beneficiaries will be, is set out by legislation. If a person dies testate, or having left a will, their beneficiaries will be named in the will and the guiding statute will be the Wills Act 7 of 1953. If a person dies […]

What are the Advantages of a Family Trust?

A family trust is an estate-planning instrument that creates a legal relationship between various people. When a trust is established, a person (the founder) or people (the founders) donate money or assets to another person (a trustee) or people (trustees) to hold for the ultimate benefit of a different person (a beneficiary) or people (beneficiaries). […]

Destroying or Forging a Will: Criminal Offences in the Administration of Estates Act

The Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 sets out the procedures that must be used in administering a deceased estate such as applying for the letters of executorship, acting as an executor, advertising an estate, compiling a liquidation and distribution account, dealing with claims against an estate and distributing the estate to beneficiaries. Section […]

Dying Without A Will: Intestate Succession in South Africa

When a person dies in South Africa without leaving a valid will, the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 will come into operation. The Act determines who will inherit the estate of a person who died without leaving a will or who died leaving a partially or fully invalid will. When someone dies without leaving […]

Advantages of Having An Executor Who Is A FPSA®

Appointing the executor of your estate is an extremely important decision because he or she will ‘step into your shoes’ when you pass away and be responsible for the administration of your estate and ensuring that your final wishes are honoured, and your loved ones are taken care of. The administration of a deceased estate […]

What is Freedom of Testation and why is it important?

The principle of freedom of testation states that every person may legally decide what happens to their own estate after death. Practically, this means that everyone may create a will at any time throughout their life to make their wishes and instructions known when they die. A person who makes a will is known as […]

The Bloody Hand Rule: Unworthiness to Inherit

The South African legal system is heavily influenced by Roman-Dutch law, which was brought to our land by Dutch settlers in the 17th century, and is now one of our primary sources of law known as common law. One of the significant common law principles relating to inheritance from deceased estates in South Africa is […]

Challenges of Deceased Estate Administration in South Africa

Deceased Estate administration in South Africa

Deceased estate administration is the legal process of finalising a deceased person’s estate. This includes validating the deceased’s will (if one exists) and granting authority to an executor to take control of the deceased’s assets and administer the estate. In South Africa, the Master of the High Court issues the letters of executorship to an […]