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Three reasons why it is important to list your assets and liabilities as part of our estate planning

18 September 2023
2 minute read
father and daughter working together

An important part of drafting your Will and making sure your executor can wind up your estate most effectively and in the shortest time possible, is to create a detailed list of assets and liabilities.

There are three reasons for this:

1. Before the executor can distribute any assets, he or she needs to settle any legitimate claims from creditors.

If your executor does not know who your creditors are, he or she will need to request this information from those who were closest to you, which can only add to a stressful situation. The executor will also be obligated to advertise in local newspapers for any creditors to come forward if they have a legitimate claim against you.

Providing a detailed list of creditors will speed up this process significantly and allow your executor to settle these claims much more quickly.

2. At the same time, the executor needs to draft accounts of all assets, so they can be distributed as per your Will. You also want to make sure all policies are claimed.

If you do not list all your assets and indicate whom you want to receive which asset, you run the risk of them not being distributed or the risk of potential conflict over ownership. There are lots of examples of conflict coming out of disagreements on who should get what.

You also want to make sure you list all your policies and annuities. Right now, there is more than seventeen billion Rand in unclaimed unit trusts and policies in South Africa.

3. Have a clear idea of the costs associated with winding up your estate.

A lot of people are not aware of the costs of winding up your estate. This includes estate duties, executor fees and potentially conveyancing fees.

The 1Life Wills and Estate software has built-in calculators that will give you and your financial adviser an indication of the potential costs of winding up your estate. The more complete a list of assets and liabilities you have, the more accurately we can calculate the costs. Your financial adviser can also offer you innovative financial solutions to help you cover these costs.

It is well worth the effort of building a comprehensive list of your assets and liabilities. Not only does 1Life help you create a Will that is comprehensive and binding, but your executor will also have access to all the information he/she needs to make sure your estate is wound up as quickly as possible and the right people benefit.

Read more here or contact your financial adviser.

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