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September 5, 2014

Estate administration: Are my financial affairs in order?


At the death of a loved one a person usually experiences a greater or lesser degree of emotional shock that can prevent one thinking clearly. Yet, death is a very common event although it is not something that one thinks of every day. It is nevertheless important that, in the event of a person’s death, his or her next of kin have the necessary information to ensure that the process of administering the estate proceeds as fluently and quickly as possible.

We therefore publish, as from this month, a series of articles dealing with estate administration. In this first article we draw your attention to –

  • what information should be kept up to date and in safe custody where it will be easily accessible to your next of kin and heirs in case of your death; and
  • what you should do in the event that one of your next of kin passes away.

Information that is essential in the first case above is, in our view, inter alia the following:

  1. personal information, which includes identity documents and passports;
  2. a fully signed will, and also an indication of where the original is kept and who the executor of your estate is;
  3. full names of spouse and children, and their contact details;
  4. details of bank and income;
  5. name and contact details of your employer;
  6. pension fund details;
  7. medical aid details;
  8. income tax details;
  9. policy details (short term insurance, life insurance and possible funeral insurance);
  10. details of investments and of your broker;
  11. complete list of assets (movable and immovable) and where the original documents pertaining thereto, are kept;
  12. complete list of liabilities, eg hire-purchase agreements, bank loans, bonds, personal loans;
  13. any other documents pertaining to assets/investments;
  14. information about any business interests or companies in which you may have an interest;
  15. information concerning trusts of which you have been appointed a trustee;
  16. contact details of your bookkeeper/auditors;
  17. antenuptial contract and marriage certificate;
  18. divorce order and deed of settlement; and
  19. details of predeceased spouse(s).

It is advisable to check this information once a year to ensure that everything is still in order so that your beneficiaries will not have difficulty in finding required information.

Regarding what you should do in the event that one of your next of kin passes away, the following is important:

  1. contact the family doctor if the death occurs at home. Should the death be unnatural, call the police.
  2. contact the local undertaker to make the necessary arrangements;
  3. inform the deceased’s pastor;
  4. inform the deceased’s employer;
  5. inform the deceased’s other next of kin;
  6. inform the deceased’s pension fund;
  7. contact the executor of the deceased’s estate. The executor should then see to the rest.

Should you be unsure whether your financial affairs will be in order in the event of your death, you are welcome to get in touch with us. We have the knowledge and experience to assist you to take the necessary precautions in this regard.

For more information contact your responsible director, or Sonja Viljoen at

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