Estate Planning - Crest Trust Services

By: Crest Trust  11-11-2011
Keywords: tax, Income tax, Tax returns


Your current personal and financial position is reviewed, taking into account your objectives for the future. A strategic plan is then agreed upon and implemented.

Key Components

The followings aspects must be covered in the estate plan:

  • - The Last Will and Testament - it is important to structure the Will in such a manner that it would secure a practical and equitable distribution of the estate, whilst at the same time affording beneficiaries adequate protection and minimising death duties.
  • Trust formation - to serve as a holding vehicle, which could preserve and protect the underlying assets for the dependants of the founder, and their descendants.
  • Asset restructuring - converting a close corporation membership to a shareholding in a company. This could also include:
    • Separating trading assets from conventional investments
    • Incorporating a professional partnership
    • Loan redemption plan
  • Buy and Sell Agreement - protecting partners in the event of death or disability of one partner.
  • Assurance - identifying the need for income and capital for events such as disability, retirement, funding the acquisition of a business interest (partnership assurance) and for the maintenance of your dependants in the event of your death.
  • Succession - who takes over your sole proprietory, and on what terms?
  • Taxation - what are the donations tax, income tax (including Capital Gains Tax) and Estate Duty implications?
  • Offshore structures - for immigrants, emigrants and SA Residents.
  • Property - to purchase in the individual's name, a trust or a company.
  • Asset management - which adjustments would meet future requirements?
  • Share option schemes - cede, exercise or defer?
  • Employer/Employee benefits - how best to structure (e.g. Pension / Provident / Group / Life)

Inter vivos (Family) Trusts

It is important to ensure that the following documents and papers are kept up to date:

  • Letters of intent - a letter of the wishes of the founder of the trust can serve as useful guidelines for the trustees when they exercise their discretionary powers.
  • Minutes - of all decisions taken by the trustees during a financial year.
  • Loan account reconciliation - the balance of any loan owing to the founder or funder constitutes an asset in his/her estate.
  • Acknowledgement of debt - recording the terms of any loan to the trust.
  • Sale agreement)s) - specifying the assets sold to the trust and the purchase consideration.
  • Deed of Trust - is it still flexible enough and can amendments be made in keeping with changing requirements and legislation?
  • Annual Financial Statements and Tax - copies of the most recent statements and tax returns.

The use of trusts in South Africa is continuously under the scrutiny of our tax authorities. Regular reviews of the trust are therefore necessary.

We do not promote the use of trusts as trading vehicles for business purposes per se and we also do not encourage their use as a means to save income tax.

Offshore Wills

With the gradual relaxation of exchange control regulations South African residents may invest offshore, subject to certain requirements being met.

The formalities of different foreign jurisdictions vary dramatically and careful consideration must be given to the different estate planning options.

These include:

  • Joint accounts - in certain jurisdictions two or more people may hold accounts as joint tenants which ensure that, upon the death of one of them, the account simply continues in the name of the survivor - there is no need for any probate formalities.
  • Separate Wills - to govern the administration of the offshore and onshore estates respectively.
  • Offshore discretionary trusts - South African residents with offshore assets are still subject to the same South African taxation in respect of such assets, namely donations tax, estate duty and income tax (including capital gains tax).

Keywords: Income tax, Last Will And Testament, tax, Tax returns, Will And Testament

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Other products and services from Crest Trust


Deceased Estates - Crest Trust Services

Preparing and submitting a Liquidation and Distribution Account to the Master of the higher Court for audit - this is basically a comprehensive statement of assets and liabilities and a distribution statement in terms of the stipulations of the Will. The administration of deceased estates, in accordance with the last Will and Testament of the deceased, or in terms of the laws of intestacy, where the deceased had no Will.


Trusts - Crest Trust Services

Our trust service includes facilitation of the administration of testamentary trusts which are created in a Last Will and Testament and which becomes operative upon the death of the testator. A Trust is a legal relationship whereby assets are placed under control of another person for the benefit of a third party. Compliance with relevant legislation - Trust Property Control Act, Income Tax Act, Exchange Control Act etc.


Wills - Crest Trust Services

Guardianship - where children of the testator/testatrix are minors, the nomination of guardians must be carefully considered and provision should be made for substitution guardians in the case where a nominee cannot accept the appointment. Marital status - if you are unmarried, or married out of community of property, you are the sole owner of your assets and a single Will can be drawn up whereby your personal assets can be bequeathed.