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 Estate
1. The Original Will. The 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, this will delay the administration of your estate. 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 document This 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 etc far more difficult when the deceased’s identity document cannot be found.
3. The Original Death Certificate The 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 order Many 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 certificate
6. 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 Advisor
8. Title Deeds for property held in the deceased’s name, alternatively the certificate of Registered Sectional Title
9. An estimated valuation of the deceased’s property
10. Details of any bond over the deceased’s property, such as the bank and bond account number
11. Medical Aid information (if applicable)
12. Salary advice (if applicable) 13. Pension and retirement annuity details
14. 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 account
17. Details of your beneficiaries, such as copies of their identity documents, full names, addresses and bank statements This is important, as your Last will and Testament will not usually have these details. Most Wills usually contain the beneficiaries’ names only. It eases the administration process to have the details of your beneficiaries easily accessible to
avoid your Executor potentially having 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 registration b. Hire purchase details (if applicable)
19. Details of any debit orders you pay, for example MNET or DSTV
20. Telephone and cell phone account numbers, and cell phone contract details (if applicable)
21. SABC TV licence details
23. Funeral Director
25. 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 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.
For more information, Margaret or Mandi on 0338459700.
Written Carol-Ann Wheeler, candidate attorney.