YOUR WILL: CHOOSING THE RIGHT EXECUTOR
19 Sep 2019
Your will is your voice when you pass away, but who have you appointed to interpret and give effect to your wishes? It is crucial that the right person with the right knowledge be appointed as executor and see to the proper administration of your estate.
The executor will have a number of important duties and responsibilities, which includes the following:
- Understanding the relevant legislation and processes relating to the administration of a deceased estate
- Interpreting your will and understanding the bigger structure involved in your estate planning
- Gathering all information and documents relating to the assets and liabilities in your estate and the relevant taxes payable on date of death and thereafter
- Locating the heirs and legatees
- Acting as custodian of the assets in the estate, managing the funds and paying creditors
- Calculating and paying estate duty and other taxes
- Ensuring that the administration takes place within the required timeframes
- Reporting to the Master of the High Court and SARS
Numerous institutions and practitioners offer to draft your will for free or for a nominal fee in exchange for being appointed as the executor of your estate when you pass away. Unfortunately this could lead to your family dealing with a faceless estates administrator at the other end a telephone line or email. The person or institution in charge of your family’s legacy never even met you and know nothing about your family circumstances.
Another tendency is to appoint your surviving spouse or another family member and we have seen numerous wills where all of the deceased’s children are nominated as executors because the deceased did not want to step on anyone’s toes. But as the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth” – having too many executors cause an unnecessary administrative burden on the person dealing with the actual administration of the deceased estate and will only cause delays and frustration during the winding-up process. Family members may also be very vulnerable after the passing of a loved one and find it difficult to deal with the administration process.
The Master of the High Court has strict requirements when it comes to the administration of a deceased estate and it is compulsory for an executor who is not an attorney, auditor or estate specialist to be assisted by an agent which falls within one of these categories.
At PKF Cape Town we have the experience and expertise to help you with proper estate planning and also the administration of the deceased estate.
You are welcome to contact Karien Theron (Karien.firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 914 8880) should you wish to set up an appointment to bring your will up to date, do estate planning or discuss any matter relating to your will or trust.