September 01, 2023
National Wills Week 2023
In South Africa today, our legal experts are faced with the challenge of having globally based clients, whether they are South Africans living abroad or foreigners living in South Africa.
Currency Partners specialises in helping our Legal and Fiduciary clients with the movement of funds in and out of South Africa, along with all the additional services required to make currency transfers.
Offshore investing has become an important part of wealth creation and leaves a legacy for future generations. But what happens when you pass away? While no one really likes to dwell on these things, careful estate planning and consideration of country-specific laws on how your assets will be distributed after death is a must.
And what better time to discuss this very important topic than during National Wills Week?
National Wills Week will take place from 11 – 15 September this year.
Why must you have a will?
Having a will ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. This is known as “freedom of testation.”
Why should an attorney draft your will?
Attorneys are legal professionals who can provide guidance on potential issues related to your will. An attorney has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure your will is valid and reflects your wishes.
Many wills are deemed invalid because the person who drafts it does not have the necessary legal knowledge to ensure that the requirements of the law are met.
What happens to your estate if you die without a valid will?
If you die without leaving a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. The provisions of this Act are generally fair and ensure that your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children, and where applicable, to siblings, parents, and if required, then to the extended family in terms of degrees of relationships and those that were dependent on you for financial support.
Not having a will would result in delays, extra costs, and family conflicts due to ambiguous instructions.
Don’t underestimate the need for an expert partner that can help you navigate the ins and outs of this complex process. It can become particularly complex when there are foreign assets involved. Below are some important facts about the inheritance of foreign assets.
The administration of a deceased estate is fraught with red tape and legal requirements. Part of being a South African resident means that you need to understand the SARB exchange control rulings when investing offshore or inheriting an offshore asset. Unless you have nerves of steel and the patience of a saint, it’s not a task that should be undertaken alone.
At Currency Partners, we have the expertise to help our attorney partners and their clients navigate the challenging world of international payments. Our experienced FX team will open Estate Late accounts and manage the entire exchange control and offshore payment process with ease. Currency Partners can also assist with a formal Tax Emigration application, should this be the best option for you.
It’s essential to have a general understanding of SARB’s rulings regarding inheritance. For your interest, we’ve put together a list of the most pertinent rules below:
- South African residents who inherit foreign assets from a non-resident after 17 March 1998 do not need to declare to the SARB or repatriate to South Africa.
- South African residents who inherit foreign assets from a South African estate on or after 23 February 2022 may retain the asset offshore in their name without permission from the SARB subject to local tax disclosure and compliance. Note: This does not apply retroactively and contraventions before this date must be regularised.
- South African residents temporarily abroad, who inherit from a South African estate and have a South African bar-coded ID, can utilise their annual allowances to receive their inheritance payments offshore.
South African foreign exchange regulations may seem complex but with the right specialist advice, claiming your foreign inheritance can be a seamless experience.
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