Estates, Wills and Trusts
Throughout a person's life, they will accumulate a variety of assets and obligations. These assets can range from tangible items such as property, vehicles, and furniture to liquid assets like cash. On the other hand, liabilities may include home loans, personal loans, and retail accounts.
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Property practitioners are often involved in marketing property which is an asset in a deceased person’s estate. However, buying from a deceased estate can deter buyers or investors from pursuing the purchase because such transfers are known to take longer than usual to finalize.
Having a will is one of the most important parts of estate planning and ensures that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. However, without a will in place, what happens to your estate after you die?
In a recent ruling, the Constitutional Court decided that section 1(1) of the Intestate Succession Act is unconstitutional in that it does not include life partners in relationships intended to be permanent in the definition of “spouse”.
Not having a will can cause serious conflict between family members, and the unfortunate reality is that those closest to you are often the ones left behind with nothing to inherit. A recent study don by Sanlam shows that 75% of black South Africans do not have a will. But what exactly does this mean for the family?
A difference in opinion is sometimes inevitable whenever a decision has to be made jointly amongst a group of people, and often at times this results in confrontations and disputes. In some instances, these disagreements often have to be resolved before the Courts or by any other dispute resolution process available. In most contracts even, parties usually provide for a dispute resolution process should a dispute arise during the currency of the agreement. What happens when, during the administration of a deceased estate, the co-executors do not agree with each other?
The responsibilities and obligations of a Trustee are fiduciary in nature, much in the same way as those of a company director. Trustees ought to conduct themselves in a manner that serves the best interests of the trust and the beneficiaries. Where the conduct of a trustee negates this notion therefore, he/she may be removed from such position.
In a recent landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court (Concourt) confirmed the invalidity of Section 1 (1) of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987, as well as Section 1 of the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act 27 of 1990.
Not all people who find themselves having to deal with Trusts understand what it is all about, therefore in this brief discussion we will highlight the prominent issues that one has to familiarise themselves with in order to safeguard their interests when dealing with a Trust.
Since it is a matter of practice and not one premised on the provisions of the law, the requirement to appoint an independent Trustee may be dispensed with in the event that good cause is shown that the interests of creditors will not be compromised.
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