Estates, Wills and Trusts

Estates, Wills and Trusts


GCM Legal specialises in the legal aspects of Estates and Trust, which services includes, advice in (general and specific), and, drafting of, the following:

  • Estate planning
  • Wills
  • Winding up of Deceased Estates
  • Drafting Trust Deeds
  • Registration of Trusts

Estates deal with the nett worth of a person at any point in time during and after their life. It is the difference between a person’s assets of any kind (including, legal rights, interests, and entitlements, property, investments, cash, etc.) and all their liabilities at that time. The circumstances of a person’s Estate have particular legal significance with regard to the question of that person’s insolvency and death.

Last Will and Testament is a legal instrument (or document) through which a person (the Testator), expresses their wishes as to how their assets (including, interests, property, shares, vehicles, Jewellery, etc.) are to be distributed at their death.  It also names one or more people to manage the estate (the Executor) until the Estate is completely distributed.

If someone dies without a Last Will and Testament their Estate is distributed according to the Laws of Intestate succession; as such a Will is an essential part of Estate Planning.

We have compiled a Wills Glossary with commons terms and words, if you are looking for more information, click here.


You can also get a Will at dramatically reduced
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Trusts can be a very useful tool in Estate Planning; in the eyes of South Africa Law, a Trust is a separate “person” with its own rights (similar to a Company). A Trust is established through a Donor/Founder for the benefit of the Beneficiaries and it is administered by the Trustees.  It comes into existence by Registration of a Trust Deed.  A Trust can receive assets (donations) or acquire assets (purchase), which assets are then utilized by the Beneficiary as the Trustees deem correct.

Trusts can be created in 2 ways:

  • During the lifetime of a person (Inter Vivos Trust)
  • Upon Death in terms of a Last Will and Testament (Mortis causa Trust – Testamentary Trust).


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Further reading on GCM Legal Wiki

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