The end of autumn is in sight and we are already feeling the chilly bite of the winter air. In the same manner, we can hope to go through the constant seasonal changes in our lives, enjoying every season, planning as well for the last one to come.
“As I accepted the change of the golden hair of my childhood to the reddish-brown hair of my youth without regret, so I also accept my silver hair -- and I am ready to accept the time when my hair and the rest of my clay garment returns to the dust from which it came, while my spirit goes on to freer living. It is the season for my hair to be silver, and each season has its lessons to teach. Each season of life is wonderful if you have learned the lessons of the season before. It is only when you go on with lessons unlearned that you wish for a return.”
The role of the Executor of a deceased estate is often misunderstood. Can one appoint a family member? Will there be costs involved? What are the duties of an Executor? In the next edition we will expand on the role of the Executor.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE EXECUTOR IN AN ESTATE?
Read more in the upcoming edition!
WHY SHOULD A SIGNED WILL BE RETURNED FOR SAFE CUSTODY
A valid Will is the first step to the eventual administering of an estate. The Will should be drafted in accordance to the client’s wishes, which should be clear and feasible. Therefore it is very important that the Will Application Form is completed thoroughly and correctly. The next step is the correct signing of the Will. The most important is: Where is the Will?
On return of the Will to EFBOE’s office, the document is checked to make sure it is originally and correctly signed. All valid Wills will be filed in safe custody and you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt.
Case scenario: The signed Will was never returned to EFBOE’s office, therefore not checked for feasibility nor if it was signed correctly. No file was opened as we were unaware that the Will was ever signed. The client passes away and the next-of-kin report the estate, then presenting the signed Will (if they can at all find the originally signed Will).
Example: The deceased signed with a thumbprint. There is a proper certificate from a Commissioner of Oaths, but he also signed as a second witness on the Will. According to Clause 2(a)(v)(aa) of the Wills Act No 7 of 1973 the Commissioner cannot commission and witness at the same time as he can only occupy one office at a time. The commissioner also did not co-sign each page.
The result: The Will is invalid and it becomes an intestate estate which has to be administered according to the Law of Intestate Succession. In this case scenario, it will be an invalid Will for two reasons, i.e. co-signing by a Commissioner of Oaths, which is a requirement by law, was not adhered to AND only one acceptable witness signed. The requirement is that the testator/testatrix sign the Will in the presence of two competent, impartial witnesses. These problems would have been identified immediately if the signed Will was returned for safekeeping and the mistakes could have been rectified by having the clients sign a new copy of the Will.
Where neither the next of kin nor the advisor can trace an originally signed Will and EFBOE does not have a valid signed Will in safe custody, that estate will also have to be administered as intestate, which present a problem.
EFBOE provides the safe keeping of Wills as a free value-added service to our clients. It is therefore to the best interest of all parties involved to ensure that signed Wills are returned for safe keeping as soon as possible.
Once a novelty, it has now become expected for the unimaginably wealthy to leave millions to their surviving pets to ensure there is no disruption in their spa treatments and fancy feasts.
Here are the top ten lucky beasties:
$2 mil - The chimpanzee, Bubbles (Michael Jackson)
$4 mil - Unspecified number of dogs (Majel Barrett-Roddenberry)
$10 mil - The hen, Gigoo (Miles Blackwell)
$11 mil - Three dogs: Conchita, Lucia, April Marie (Gail Posner)
$12 mil - The Maltese, Trouble (Leona Helmsley)
$12,5 mil - The cat, Blackie (Ben Rea)
$13 mil - The cat, Tommaso (Maria Assunta)
$30 mil - Five dogs, Luke, Layla, Sadie, Sunny and Lauren (Oprah Winfrey)
$70 mil - The chimpanzee, Kalu (Patricia O’Neill)
$80 mil - The German Sheppard, Gunther III (Charlotta Liebenstein)
Until next time!
The “Let’s Talk EFBOE” Team