Nobody wants to die without having the peace of mind knowing that my family will be taken care of. One way you can ensure that you have that peace of mind is by having a valid will. More importantly, you must nominate the right executor.
National Will’s Week 2020 will in all probability be met with an even greater influx of people approaching law firms and relevant institutions for assistance to draft their wills; especially in the light of Covid-19 and people being extra anxious about dying and not having their affairs in order.
During a person’s lifetime they gather assets, like a car, house, jewellery and a bank account, for example; and debt or liabilities like mortage bonds and maintenance of a child or spouse. These are all things that forms part of a person’s deceased estate. After that person’s death, his/her estate must be administered. The person in charge of the administration (in other words, division, distribution and controlling) of another person’s deceased estate is called an executor.
An executor is nominated by a Testator (person who makes the will), and upon the death of the Testator the executor gets appointed as executor of the relevant estate by the Master of the High Court.
Nominating a competent, professional, trustworthy and efficient person as executor of your estate is, like stated before, just as important as having a valid will. Here is why: -
- Firstly, an executor will be responsible for informing the beneficiaries/heirs about the will and the content thereof.
- The executor will be responsible for obtaining all necessary information with regards to the assets and liabilities of the deceased.
- The executor should report the estate to the Master of the High Court, who will then issue a Letter of Executorship mandating the executor to act as such in administering the deceased estate.
- The executor will then further be responsible for the handling the claims for, and against the estate.
- Ultimately, the executor will be responsible for submitting a Liquidation and Distribution Account of the estate, detailing the administration of the estate and the distribution of estate assets to the heirs/beneficiaries, to the Master of the High Court.
As you have noted, the duties resting on the shoulders of the executor is no childsplay. Most of them needs to be completed within weeks from the date of death of the deceased. Furthermore, the executor will ultimately be responsible for ensuring that what you had intended to pass on to your favorite niece, actually passes to her once you’re no longer there.
Should you pass on, your loved ones will be left in the hands of your executor. You should thus think very carefully about who you want to be appointed as the executor. Nominate a competent, professional and trustworthy person. You, and only you can decide who you want to be executor of your estate so make that the best last decision of your life