With December behind us, getting your personal information up to date is an important item on your tick list. With the year being full of work and personal commitments, personal admin often gets left behind. The start of the year gives you the opportunity to have your Will and personal documents updated and stored together.
There are a number of benefits in organizing the information relating to your estate. Some of these benefits are: – peace of mind that everything is accounted for, having a snapshot of your assets and liabilities at the start of the new year and reducing any delay in the winding up of your estate after you pass away. One of the delays which executor’s experience results from family members searching for the information that he or she needs to complete the estate process.
So, before the busyness of 2021 starts in full, use this minimum checklist (not fully comprehensive) to ensure you have the right documents to get started:
Family Related Information
It is important to have your original Will up to date and safely stored. It is an unfortunate reality that Covid is putting strain on the South African Health system. With the daily reminder of the fragility of life having your Will in order should be the first item on your checklist. With your original Will, keep a copy of the ID documents of all the heirs mentioned in the Will, together with a copy of your Marriage certificate and ANC if applicable. Your executor will also need the names of your parents and the contact details of your next-of-kin and anyone else who is mentioned in your Will.
Having a list of your all your investments, bank accounts and life policies reflecting their reference numbers and approximate values will enable your executor to account for all the assets in your estate. Your executor will have to create an inventory of all the investments, life-policies, and liabilities in your estate before he or she can proceed to distribute your assets to your nominated heirs. If you have any loans in your favour, a copy of the loan agreement will assist your executor in collecting the outstanding amount. Further, your executor will require your income tax number to settle any outstanding Tax liabilities with SARS. A list of Liabilities, such as bond accounts, credit accounts and outstanding loans will enable the executor to contact the credit provider to arrange the settlement of those outstanding amounts.
Property and assets
Your executor will have to transfer your property to your nominated heirs. Providing your executor with a list of all immovable property (houses/land) and movable property (cars and notable valuables) with approximate values will enable your executor to complete the inventory of your estate required by the Master of the High Court. He or she will also need the original title deed for any house owned as well as the registration certificates for any cars, boats or trailers before they can be transferred. If you own any shares in a company your executor will also need the share certificates.
Other Personal Information
After you pass away your family will have to access your social media accounts and email accounts and subscriptions (eg. Netflix) in order have them closed or to access information that may be necessary to finalise the estate.
The start of a year is always accompanied by the excitement of new possibilities. However, before the busyness of life and work take over, ensure that your Will and personal information is up to date. Attending to the ‘last bit’ of personal admin can prevent unnecessary delays in your estate and unnecessary difficulty for your loved ones should the unforeseen event of your death occur.