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The year is quickly coming to its end. A lot of people are preparing for the long-awaited holiday in December. This is a perfect time to make sure that your clients’ Wills are in place, up to date and in safe custody. This will be our last issue of The Legatus Times for 2017. Therefore, the only thing left to say before we go, is:
To those who celebrate this special holiday, we wish you a blessed festive season with family, friends and loved ones. May you be one of the fortunate people to spend quality time with them, entering a relaxing time, filled with fun and joy. Make good memories together and be safe.
Please take note that our offices will close on Thursday, 14 December 2017 at 12h00 and re-open on Monday, 8 January 2018 at 08h00.
INVITATION: If there are any specific questions or subjects pertaining to Legatus Trust’s field of expertise that you would like to be addressed in our newsletters, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to comply with your requests.
A little advice: When signing a Will, either as a client or a witness, a printed name does not constitute a signature. Please sign a Will with a full signature where required.
CAN A FAMILY MEMBER BE APPOINTD AS EXECUTOR?
Read more in the upcoming edition in January 2018!
THE ROLE OF THE EXECUTOR IN AN ESTATE
Having a Will in place, nominating Legatus Trust as a qualified, experienced Executor, makes it so much easier to administer the estate of a deceased loved one. However, the role of the Executor is often misunderstood. What are the duties of an Executor?
An Executor has very specific tasks when administering a deceased estate; it is his duty to handle the legal formalities associated with the estate:
· He has to report the estate to the Master of the High Court and apply for the Letters of Executorship to be issued in his favour.
· Only after the Letters of Executorship has been issued by the Master, does the Executor have authority to administer the estate on behalf of the deceased. The Executor then takes control of all the assets in the estate and arrange for bank accounts to be frozen.
· The next of kin has to supply all the relevant information regarding the assets and liabilities, to enable the Executor to lodge the first and final liquidation and distribution account within six months of the Letters of Executorship being issued.
· Incorporated in this account should be a distribution account, reflecting how the estate will be distributed amongst the nominated beneficiaries as per the Will of the deceased.
· Only once this account has been approved by the Master of the High Court, has been advertised, has lain for inspection, free from objections, can the Executor proceed with the distribution of the estate.
· If there is no Will, the assets must be distributed to the next of kin in terms of the Intestate Succession Act.
Clearly, accepting a nomination as Executor entails a lot of work and it can get very complicated in a heartbeat – especially when a dispute arises, or when there are insufficient funds to cover the costs. That is all the more reason to nominate an Executor who is up to the task and has the necessary knowledge and expertise to complete the process.
It is not the task of the Executor to enforce a client’s wishes, but to execute the legal matters of an estate. It therefore implies that a Living Will is not executed by the Executor, neither the funeral wishes and arrangements or care of animals, etc.
In our September Newsletter No 11, we discussed a practical list of documents that should be available and how important it is that the next of kin know where to find all the relevant documents and information. It could be insightful to have a look at that list again.
Also see a summary of the Estate Process on our website: www.legatus.co.za.
Now the question: Can one appoint a family member as Executor? Read more on this subject in the next edition in January 2018.
THE SAD STORY OF JANIS JOPLIN
Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on January 19, 1943. She was one of the biggest rock stars of her era. In her brief career as a rock and blues singer, she recorded four albums containing a number of rock classics, including "Piece of My Heart," "To Love Somebody," and "Me and Bobby McGee." Known for her heavy drinking and drug use, she died of an accidental heroin overdose on October 4, 1970 at the young age of 27 years. Her fourth album, Pearl, was released just over three months after her death and reached number one on the charts.
Janis made changes to her Will just two days before her death. She set aside $2,500 to pay for a posthumous all-night party for 200 guests at her favorite pub in San Anselmo, California, "so my friends can get blasted after I'm gone." The bulk of her estate reportedly went to her parents.
Until next year 2018! Have a great festive season!
“The Legatus Times” Team
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