FAQ Wills Trusts Deceased Estates

Wills Trusts deceased estates

Q What happens if I die without a valid will?

If you die without a valid will your estate will be handled in terms of the rules of Intestate Succession.

The rules are .. [to be completed]


Q What is a Trust?

A Trust is created when and individual or other Legal Entity relinquishes control of assets to third parties known as Trustees. The trustees then care for the assets for nominated beneficiaries who may vary from individuals to Educational institutions.

In the simplest terms, there are basically two types of trust – a trust created while the persons are still alive, and the ‘testamentary trust” which is formed once the estate of a person has been wound up.



Trust is a vehicle which effectively separates your assets and liabilities from your estate.  It is similar to a company where it controls or “owns” assets for the benefit of other people


Q Can I be allowed to die if I have no chance of recovery?

Yes – we do recognise the so-called “living will” which provides that no steps must be taken to resuscitate you if there is no chance of you recovering from a severely compromised state of health.


Q Can I personally wind up an estate on my own?

Possibly yes, but unlikely as the Master of the High Court normally insists on a professional person, such as an attorney, to be appointed as executor of a deceased estate


Q When should I create a trust?

Trusts may be used to preserve assets for future generations, or where there is property which needs to be protected.

Trusts  are also used to fix the value of estate with the legitimate purpose of reducing estate duty.

Trusts are also very widely used where there are minors inheriting from estates.  Provision should be made in any will for the property to be held in trust for the maintenance, benefit, upkeep of minors until they are able to care for themselves.


Read all our Wills, Trusts and deceased Estates articles


FAQ Wills Trusts Deceased Estates — 4 Comments

  1. When an executor appoints an attorney as the administrator of the estate, does the attorney act as the executors attorney or is his duty to the estate only and the winding up thereof?

    Example:The executor fails to produce a L&D account by the due date and has no valid reason for an extension due to their own negligence of handling the estates matters an changing agents to use up funds,the last attorney appointed as an agent the executor now uses as his attorney to defend civil action and uses estate funds as he has access to the trust account, civil action brought by an heir due to mismanegment.

    • If the executor appoints an Attorney to assist with the estate and something goes wrong the executor remains responsible and in particular may face sanction by the master of the high court.

      If there is negligence or misconduct by the Attorney then there may be recourse to the Law Society.

      If there are issues with an Estate the first port of call should be to the master of the high court.


  2. My father passed away 5 years ago and appointed his brother as the executor but we susspect he payed investors wrongfully and provisions in his will was not carried out.after the estate was insolvent he gave it to an attorney who is very unproffesional and unhelpful.what should we do in this regard?is maintanance not priority in a case like this?