Here we discuss 8 important steps an heir of a deceased Estate should take to ensure their loved one's wishes are taken care of without delay.
It is a very trying time when a family member passes away and, while we do not like to think about such things, it is useful to know the correct steps to follow when this happens so that you can concentrate on your family and not on the legal formalities.
Below, we deal with 8 things that will help the heirs of a deceased estate move passed these legal formalities.
We also have a glossary of common words and terms relating to Wills, click here.
Where death occurs
When death occurs you will need to acquire a Death Certificate to begin the process of winding up the deceased estate. If death occurs at home contact the family doctor, who will issue a death certificate.
A local undertaker will be able to arrange most aspects relating to the funeral.
Ask for help
During this time it is sensible to request the assistance of a calm friend or family member. It can be costly to make rushed emotional decisions and this could be avoided with the right assistance.
Find the Will
Refer to the Will as soon as possible to ascertain any last wishes of the deceased (e.g. burial or cremation instructions, the nomination of executor, etc.).
The deceased’s policies
Contact any servicing financial agents / brokers as soon as possible; if any life assurance or other policies exists you will need to include this information when reporting the estate.
Take note that an inventory has to be lodged with the Master of the High Court within 14 days from the date of death.
IMPORTANT: policies that are not payable to the estate may be submitted sooner.
Financial responsibilities of the Heirs
The heirs are responsible for payment of certain accounts if these services are to continue; for example, telephones and municipal services.
Assets of the Deceased Estate
The executor of the estate is lawfully the only person that may deal with the assets of the deceased estate; therefore, no actions regarding any assets should be taken without consulting the executor first. Full co-operation with the executor will assure early and satisfactory finalisation of the estate.
The deceased’s Employer
Notify employers or pension funds as soon as possible to ensure early processing of benefits.
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DISCLAIMER: THERE ARE MORE CONSIDERATIONS THAN WE CAN COVER IN THIS ARTICLE SO ONLY USE THIS INFORMATION AS A GUIDE. THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO DISCUSS YOUR SITUATION WITH AN ATTORNEY; CONTACT US AT 0861 88 88 35; firstname.lastname@example.org AND THROUGH THE CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE.
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