An Executor is the person nominated to carry out the directives in your will. The Executor ensures that the Estate is wound up according to your directions, and in as efficient manner as possible, avoiding unnecessary delay in your beneficiaries receiving their inheritance.
The master of the High Court oversees this process and ensures that the Executor complies with the directions of the Will and the requirements by law.
The Executor has a host of duties and responsibilities, including:
- Obtaining the death certificate, procuring the original Will, and filing the necessary documentation with the Master of the High Court;
- Taking over the management of the Estate, and protecting the assets in the Estate;
- Identifying and notifying all beneficiaries and other relevant persons (including service providers) of the person’s death;
- Complying with all the procedural requirements for the winding up of an Estate;
- Assessing, approving or disapproving all creditor’s claims;
- Collecting and arranging payments;
- Finalising Income Tax returns, and calculating and paying the Estate Duty;
- Preparing and filing the Liquidation and Distribution account; and
- Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
Our team comprises of experienced, knowledgeable professionals who understand the responsibility of accepting the role of Executorship. They fulfil their duties with the utmost care and diligence, and more importantly, with the appropriate discretion and thoughtfulness, always keeping the personal relationships at the heart of what they do.
Their professional and efficient service ensures a seamless and painless experience for your loved ones.
Wills – Drafting of Domestic and Offshore Wills
A last Will and testament is a written document in which a person, the testator, voluntarily sets out his instructions regarding the distribution of his assets after his death. Every person who is older than 16 is entitled to make a Will, unless at the time of making the Will he was mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of his act.
Under South African law, a person wishing to dispose of his assets by Will (a testator) has complete testamentary freedom. However, for a Will to be formally valid, it does need to comply with the requirements of section 2 of the Wills Act.
The Will must be in writing, must be signed by the testator in the presence of two competent witnesses and the two witnesses must sign each page in the presence of the testator. Any person who is nominated in the Will as a beneficiary, guardian, executor or trustee may not sign as a witness. If a nominated person signs as a witness the Will is valid but the person cannot benefit.
Part of Sentinel’s core business is the provision of legal advice, estate planning, and administration of deceased estates, trusts and income tax. We are able to plan and execute Wills based on our personal experience gained from winding up estates and administering trusts.
Our team comprises of experienced professionals, skilled at dealing with all the complexities of estate planning, who are constantly at the forefront of evolving developments. In preparing Wills, special attention is paid to all the available Income Tax and Estate Duty concessions. You receive a tailor-made Will and your heirs receive their inheritance in the most tax efficient manner.
Our goal is to ensure that you are secure in the knowledge that your affairs are in safe hands and that your heirs will receive the best available advice.
Focus In our personalised estate planning consultations we concentrate on:
- The specific needs of testators and their heirs.
- The impact of estate duty, income tax and capital gains tax.
- The use of estate planning opportunities to preserve wealth.
- Offering advice on the distribution of ones estate to eliminate potential conflict between heirs.
- International Succession
Since 1 July 1997, when the rules regarding exchange controls were relaxed, it has become possible for South African residents to hold assets abroad. The effect of this is the necessity to consider how the international assets of South Africans Will devolve on death.
Sentinel recommends having a separate Will for these assets which is then executed in accordance with the formalities of the Wills Act of South Africa. There are definite advantages to having a separate Will for foreign assets, not least being the reduction of the time it takes to wind up the total estate.
Executor fees are charged by Sentinel International in accordance with the recommended fee as stipulated in the Administration of Estates Act no 66 of 1965, but subject to a minimum fee as set by Sentinel from time to time.
Fees are charged for the service of administration, management and protection of the assets in the estate. Any asset due to a beneficiary without intervention of the executor does not form part of the estate and no executor fees is payable on these, provided a beneficiary deals with the collection of such benefit himself/herself.