Estate Planning and Administration
Working closely with our tax department, our Estate Planning Attorneys assists various individuals, especially members of our firm’s corporate clients with their estate planning. Taking into consideration the assets of the estate and the commercial interests of our client, including shares in a company, membership interest in a close corporation, our estate planning attorneys utilise our knowledge gained from years of experience to, not only achieve optimal commercial and tax benefits but, also providing for the client’s family before and after death.
Our estate administration attorneys have developed a streamlined approach to ensure that beneficiaries and executors are assisted expeditiously and effectively during the administration of a deceased estate and in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.
We are sensitive to the fact that the administration of a deceased estate can be a complex and uncertain exercise for appointed executors and beneficiaries alike. As a result, our estate planning attorneys take all the required steps to ensure that a deceased estate is reported and administered as speedily as possible.
Estate planning is legal mechanisms used to ensure a client’s property rights are secured and that their estate is dissolved upon their death in accordance with their wishes.
Estate planning can be utilised to ensure continuity of commercial interests where the client was a member, shareholder or director to ensure the commercial interest continues to benefit his estate or family.
Many clients wonder if it is worth it to engage in estate planning. Hereunder we provide a non-exhaustive list of the objectives and benefits of estate planning:
- Obtaining optimum tax efficiency and growth of the client’s estate during his or her life time;
- Ensuring the wishes of the client is maintained at his or her death ;
- Ensuring efficient deceased estate administration;
- To elect or appoint heirs, legatees and beneficiaries (in the case of trusts created) of the estate in accordance with the client’s wishes;
- Provide liquidity of the estate;
- Provide for and protect minor beneficiaries;
- Use structures to legally minimise the taxation on the estate of the client after his or her death;
- Provide for continuity and growth of the assets of the client after the death of the client;
- To account for offshore assets in the estate of the client; and
- To minimise costs.
We offer the following services under estate planning:
The administration of one’s estate can be regarded as one of the most important phases of a person’s lifetime as it determines the distribution of the hard work of a person during his or her lifetime. The importance of ensuring that one’s estate is administered in terms of one’s personal wishes and preferences starts with the planning of one’s estate while still alive. Many people do not regard their estate planning as an important aspect but when one realises that this process, in essence, will determine how an entire lifetime of hard work is distributed the importance comes to light. The first phase of the administration of an estate is the drafting of a will.
This is to ensure that the winding up of the estate is finalised as quickly and effortlessly as possible and that the preferences and desires of the deceased are adhered to. The process for the winding up of a deceased estate is governed by the Administration of Estate Act 66 of 1965. If not understood, this process can become complicated and lengthy. It is therefore advised that nominated executors appoint a competent attorney to act as the executor’s agent and attend to the administration of the estate.