Optima Executors offers a range of taxation services relating to deceased estates. This service includes:
- Reporting the taxpayer’s death to SARS;
- Obtain the tax history of the deceased;
- Obtain the tax information and prepare and submit the deceased’s income tax return until date of death, including the calculation of capital gains tax and taxes on annuity/life products;
- Register the deceased estate as a separate taxpayer with SARS;
- Obtain the tax information and prepare and submit the estate’s income tax return from the date of death to the date of the Liquidation and Distribution account;
- Calculate the estate duty and determine who is liable for payment thereof;
- Prepare and submit the Estate Duty Return;
- Attend to SARS queries and audits;
- Obtain SARS clearance.
This service is currently being used and is highly regarded by various other deceased estate practitioners, as it takes care of any and all interactions with SARS, eFiling and the other role players.
Estate planning is essential to ensure that your assets are preserved and transferred to your loved ones according to your wishes. It is also important to take care of the costs involved and to ensure they are being kept to a minimum.
The first and most important aspect of estate planning is to have a valid, executable last will and testament. In your last will and testament you have the opportunity to bequeath your assets, appoint your heirs, choose your executor and designate a guardian for your minor children. Should you die without a valid last will and testament, you effectively forfeited your say in all of the above matters and your estate will be administered according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act, which does not represent your wishes and could be costly and messy.
The second aspect of estate planning is to analyze your estate to determine what the costs and taxes of your death would be and to ensure that there is enough liquidity in your estate to fund those costs and taxes. Should there be a cash deficit your executor may be forced to sell some or all of your assets, which is obviously not desirable.
Optima Executors will plan your estate and draft a last will and testament to ensure that:
- your wishes are fulfilled;
- your estate has the required liquidity to pay the debts, costs and taxes;
- you utilize all the tax rebates and abatements; and
- your assets are preserved for your loved ones.
In order to preserve your assets and avoid unnecessary costs, we will assist you in the creation of trusts, companies or other structures requisite to meet your estate planning needs.
Wills and Testaments
We will draft your last will and testament to ensure it meets all the legal and formal requirements, most of all that it is practical, executable and that your wishes are honored.
The estate administration process is governed by the Administration of Estates Act No. 66 of 1965. This process is taken care of by your appointed executor. The administration of a deceased estate requires a thorough knowledge of various laws and regulations, including the Administration of Estates Act; the Wills Act; the Intestate Succession Act; the Estate Duty Act; the Income Tax Act and the Trust Property Control Act, but to name a few. It is evident from the above that you need to nominate a proficient and experienced executor in your last will and testament, preferably a professional deceased estate practitioner.
The administration process could be summarized as follows:
- Report the estate to the Master of the High Court and obtain the letter of authority;
- Take custody of the estate property;
- Provide for the subsistence of the deceased’s family and household;
- Advertise for creditors to lodge claims;
- Open an estate late bank account;
- Determine the solvency of the estate;
- Liquidate the assets to pay the debts, costs and taxes;
- Prepare and lodge to the Master of the High Court the Liquidation and Distribution Account;
- Obtain the Master’s approval for the account;
- Advertise that the account is lying open for inspection;
- After the account has lain for inspection without any objections, pay the creditors;
- Pay the heirs and transfer the bequeathed property to them;
- Pay the estate duty;
- Obtain discharge.
Optima Executors has vast experience in the administration of deceased estates in all its facets, including the taxes. Since the changes in the Income Tax Act on 1 March 2016, we are also offering our specialist taxation service to many other deceased estate practitioners.
We have also developed an application called EstateStatus, where the deceased’s loved ones can monitor the administration process. We believe this to be unique in the industry. By creating a user account, the heirs will be able to follow the progress made during the administration process.