1. Ensure you have a valid last will and testament in place
Make sure the content of your will is up to date and signed by two independent witnesses. This will avoid your estate devolving upon unintended heirs as determined in the intestate succession act, which you will have no control over. Witnesses need to be 16 years and older and all pages must be signed by these witnesses and the testator/testatrix.
2. Appoint a competent Executor in your last will and testament
It is important that the person dealing with your estate is competent to ensure due processes are followed and frequent communication with the master’s office occurs.
Sometimes a family member is appointed. Although there is nothing wrong with appointing someone you know and trust, it is important to identify if the person is capable of handling your affairs.
If you have any doubt, rather appoint a professional person, for example Lawyers, Chartered Accountants or Certified Financial Planners.
3. Implement a living will
The thought of ending up in a coma and life support is not one you often think about. That said, drafting a living will with your wishes is extremely helpful for your loved ones.
A living will ensure the prevention of further anxiety and feuds over what should happen in such an event.
4. Ensure that all the beneficiaries on your life policy are up to date
One thing that happens regularly is that members of group schemes do not always nominate their beneficiaries on life policies.
Simply request a list of beneficiaries from your insurer and get your beneficiaries up to date.
5. Ensure that your beneficiaries are nominated for your retirement funds
Although section 37c of the Pension Funds Act states that the trustees of the fund will have the final say in terms of who receives benefits, making nominations can greatly assist with the process.
So, review your current retirement policies and ensure that your beneficiary nominations are correct.
6. Ensure you have Emergency funds available
Unexpected expenses will occur with your death. To make sure your family is covered for expenses like the funeral, ensure that your emergency fund is in place.
It is always advisable to have 3 months living expenses available.
7. Have liquidity in your estate
You should have some cash-based assets in your estate to cover the necessary costs and to avoid the selling of fixed property.
Talk to your Certified Financial Planner about a life policy payable to your estate at death.
8. Take specific care of your offshore estates
If you have any offshore assets, it is advisable to gain knowledge if an offshore testament is required.
Consult your Certified Financial Planner for further information and assessments.
9. Build a relationship with your financial planner
Your Certified Financial Planner can assist you with all the above steps and more. To have total peace of mind that your family will be taken care of with the least number of challenges, it is essential that all your information and documents are in one place for an easier process for your family during your absence.
Also, ensure your family is well acquainted with your Financial Planner. This can be achieved by allowing your spouse to accompany you for your annual financial review.