THERE are two things in life that are certain — death and taxes. Both are highly administrative processes which may cause undue stress to those involved. It makes an executor’s life much easier if they have all of the important details of your life on hand once you pass away. Here is a list of documents that are necessary and useful for your executor to have access to after you pass away.List of documents required for an estate1. The original willThe Master of the High Court will not accept a copy of a will, not even a certified copy. If your original will cannot be found, you will be deemed to have died intestate (without a will), and your estate will be distributed in terms of the law of intestate succession.If your original will is kept with a company, make a note somewhere that is easy to find to let your executor know this.2. Original identity documentThis is an essential requirement, as every institution your executor deals with will require a certified copy of your identity document before they will assist your executor. It makes the process of closing and cancelling accounts far more difficult when the deceased’s identity document cannot be found.3. The original death certificateThe death certificate will be arranged by the funeral home after you pass away.4. The original marriage certificate and ANC (if applicable), or the divorce orderMany institutions, including the Master of the High Court, require proof of the fact that you were married to your surviving spouse/that you were divorced from your spouse before they will pay out.5. Details of the predeceased spouse (if applicable) and his/her death certificate6. All bank accounts, insurance policies, timeshare or shares held in the deceased’s name.Please bear in mind that once you pass away, no one can ask you where you held your accounts. Your executor’s task will be far less burdensome if they know where your accounts are held, as well as your account numbers.7. Investments held in the deceased’s name, as well as the details of the deceased’s financial adviser 8. Title deeds for property held in the deceased’s name, alternatively the certificate of Registered Sectional Title9. An estimated valuation of the deceased’s property10. Details of any bond over the deceased’s property, such as the bank and bond account number11. Medical aid information (if applicable)12. Salary advice (if applicable)13. Pension and retirement annuity details14. Tax certificates or details of the deceased’s tax consultant (if applicable)15. Any liabilities in your name, including rates (with contact details for a Body Corporate)16. Electricity deposit or electrical account17. Details of your beneficiaries, such as copies of their identity documents, full names, addresses and bank statementsThis is important, as your Last Will and Testament will not necessarily have these details. Most wills only contain the beneficiaries’ names. This can severely hinder the administration process, as your executor may have to track down your beneficiaries before they can distribute the estate.18. Motor vehicle details (if applicable and the vehicle needs to be transferred)a. Certificate of registrationb. Hire purchase details (if applicable) 19. Details of any debit orders you pay, for example M-Net or DStv20. Telephone and cell phone account numbers, and cell phone contract details (if applicable)21. SABC TV licence details22. Firearms23. Funeral director24. Church25. Passwords to any online accounts you may have, such as your social media accounts, blogs and so on. Where should you store all of this this information?We recommend that you create a folder with all of the relevant documents and information, and store it somewhere safe. Let your executor know where to find this folder in the event of you passing away.Or, if your executor is a company who frequently deals with estates, ask whether they have a strong room in which they store original wills, and request them to store the information with your original will. — Carol-Ann Wheeler (candidate attorney).