Cutting Edge
Must know information

Inside Edge
Your monthly newsletter

SAX Edge
Your monthly newsletter

AUSA in the Press
In the public eye

Submit news
Keep your affairs in order

The Widows Guide
Keep important personal information on file and in an easily accessible place known to your family

A Dossier
Prepare a dossier which is a collection of important documents applicable to yourself

Estates and Wills
What happens to my property when I die?

What you must know
SOUTH AFRICA What must I do to ensure that my family and AUSA have access to my personal information if something happens to me?

aeroplaneThe Widows Guide

The following information should be kept in a file and in an easily accessible place known to your family:


  • Your Will should be as simple as possible, and prepared by someone qualified in drafting Wills and administrating Estates. It must be properly executed. Should you die without a valid Will, or with no Will, you die "in testate", which results in further problems as well as financial worry for your surviving spouse, or family.
  • Tell your Attorney if you have adopted children - this will help in drafting your Will.
  • Keep your Will up to date and record where it is being kept.
  • Record the name of your bank.


  • Record names of relatives - alive or deceased (parents, brothers and sisters)
  • File all certificates and contracts (Birth, Marriages, and Ante-nuptial) in this file.
  • Record details of Identity Documents.
  • Record details of pre-deceased spouse's estate and those of parents.


  • List policies by name, number and amount. Include House-owner insurance, which is filed with your Bondholder and any paid-up policies.
  • Record any loans taken on a policy and to whom.
  • Record where the policies are kept.
  • State to whom can family or Executor turn for advice on these matters.
  • File details of your Provident or Pension Fund in this file.
  • Make provision for Estate Duty if need be.


  • File all receipts for Income Tax, Personal Tax and Loan Levy Certificates.
  • State what taxes you owe, if any.
  • State if there is an accountant to whom your Executor can refer to.
  • Make a record of interest, dividends, or any other income received for the current tax year.

Motor car

  • State where your license and clearance papers are kept.
  • State where your insurance policy is kept.


  • State what kind of pension you receive and where the records are kept.
  • State who has the power of Attorney to uplift your pension payment.

Immovable Property

  • State where your Title Deeds are kept. Record any Mortgages outstanding thereon.
  • Give particulars of Mortgages and all insurance thereon (i.e. House owners, Householders or Mortgage Insurance).
  • File up-to-date Rates and Taxes receipts.
  • Record details of the leases on any property you have.
  • State who collects your rent.
  • State who compiles your yearly Revenue and Expenditure accounts.
  • State where your water, lights and refuse deposit receipts are kept.


  • State where your current banking account is kept.
  • State where your savings account is kept.
  • State where your fixed deposit is kept.
  • State where your building society shares are kept.
  • State what growth funds you hold, and where the documents are kept.
  • Give numbers of Growth Fund Certificates.
  • Give account numbers and indicate branches (Building Societies, Banks, etc.).

Stocks and Shares

  • State where your shares are kept.
  • Record numbers, names and types of shares held.
  • State if there is any money owing on the purchase of these shares.
  • Record shares in private companies and the registered office of such companies.
  • File latest balance sheets of all private companies in which you have an interest.
  • Record name and address and contact numbers of your accountants.
  • Record name and address and contact numbers of your stockbroker.

Business Interests

  • Give particulars of Partnership Agreement.
  • Give particulars of Partnership Assurance Policy.
  • State name, address and contact number of bookkeeper and accountant.
  • File Balance Sheets.


  • State who owes you money; state what amount; give terms of repayment; state if there is any acknowledgement of such money that is owed to you.
  • State to whom you owe money; state the amount; state the terms of repayment; state if there is any acknowledgement of debt; give details of any guarantees you have furnished.
  • Give details of Hire Purchase Agreements.
  • Give details of any Mortgage Participation Bonds.
  • Give details of any overseas debt.
  • Give details of any Loan Accounts in Companies.
  • Individually record the value and location of any foreign assets and liabilities.

Safe Deposit Box

  • State where it is kept and in what name.
  • State where the key is.
  • State if you have left the necessary authority to gain access to it in an emergency.
SOUTH AFRICA What happens to my property when I die?


It passes through the following process:

a) It becomes a "Deceased Estate"

I.e. the collection of assets and liabilities, rights and duties which belonged to you on your death and which now vest in various persons who acquire control (in a representative capacity) of your estate.

b) The Estate is controlled by:

(i) The Master of the Supreme Court

The Master is a public officer under whose control your estate automatically falls upon your death. But it is a temporary phase because the Master's first task is to find an executor to exercise a more direct control over the estate.

(ii) The Executor

There are two types of Executors:

An Executor Testamentary - If you have made a Will naming an Executor, the Will should be forwarded to the Master by the person processing it and if the Master is satisfied that it is valid he will register the Will and issue "letters of administration" to the executor authorising him to proceed as such.

Executor Dative - If you have no Will or have not appointed and Executor, the Master will consult with your heirs, legatees and creditors and in the light of the outcome of those consultations, appoint an Executor.

c) The Estate is "liquidated"

The Executor has FIVE basic functions:

  • He collects all the assets belonging to the estate;
  • He pays all the liabilities of the estate;
  • He prepares a final account which is lodged with the Master and may be inspected and objected to;
  • He pays out whatever is due to the heirs and the legatees;
  • He (or another) administers any property not due for immediate distribution in which case he is called an "administrator")

aeroplane NO SPOUSE

  • Each child (including adopted children who also inherit from their natural parents and their relatives, and any illegitimate child if the deceased is it's mother) receive a child's share.
  • If a child is dead, its descendants inherit that child's share (by representation) and this continuous down the line.

Where you leave no descendants and a spouse

  • If the deceased has a parent or full or half sibling, the spouse gets ½ and the other half is inherited in terms of 2.
  • Otherwise the spouse inherits the whole estate.

No spouse

  • If both parents are alive each receive ½.
  • If one is alive, the deceased parent's ½ goes to that parent's Descendants.
  • If neither is alive ½ goes to the descendants of each parent.

Where you leave no descendants, spouse, parents or their descendants.

  • The estate is divided into two halves, the material ½ and the paternal ½.
  • ½ goes to maternal grandparents and ½ to paternal grandparents. (If only one grandparent on a side is alive, the other grandparent on that side receives nothing).
  • If 2 is not fulfilled the ½ concerned goes to uncles and aunts of the deceased or their descendants.
  • If there are no parents, grandparents or their descendants, the ½ concerned goes to the great-grandparents and descendants.
  • If there are no relatives on one side, the total estate goes to the other side.

Where you leave no relatives.

  • Your estate will go to the State after a lapse of 30 years.


If a person dies intestate (without a Will) there is no guideline as to how his assets are to be distributed. A properly thought out Will can save a family from much confusion and discomfort.

These are the main benefits of a Will.

  • The testator (person making the Will) can specify exactly how his assets should be divided. If he does not have a Will then people who were never intended to benefit from his estate could end up with his possessions.
  • A well planned Will can save large amounts of money on estate taxes.
  • An estate that has a nominated executor will be wound up more quickly.
  • A husband and wife can appoint a legal guardian for their children in the event of them both dying at the same time.
  • The testator may put into place specific requirements that the trustees have to adhere to. For example, if the trustee is declared insolvent or mentally incapacitated the Will provides for a replacement trustee. It is recommended that a backup trustee be nominated at the time of making a Will.
  • Any person aged 16 or older, who is mentally sound and understands what he is doing can make a Will. But the person who has written the Will on behalf of the testator may not be a beneficiary.

Requirement for a valid Will:

  • It must be in writing.
  • The Testator and two witnesses who are in each other's presence must sign it. If the Will has more than one page, all three people must sign every page.
  • A testator may ask a second party to sign on his behalf; two witnesses are also required.
  • If a Will is signed on a testator's behalf or the testator makes a mark (if he can not write) then it must be signed in the presence of a commissioner of oaths, or a magistrate.

Who can be a witness?

  • Any person 14 years or older, who can give evidence in a court of law.
  • An executor, administrator, trustee or guardian may not be the witness to the Will.
  • Neither can the spouses of the aforementioned parties.
stay in touch

Quick links for your comfort

metropolitan retirement fund transmed
momentum health facebook
Contact Us

Each employee of South African Airways should prepare a dossier containing the following:


Marriage Certificate

Identity Document of wife and husband, as well as children.

Ante Nuptial Contract (if applicable) and divorce papers (if applicable).

All policy contracts (Life / Endowment / Annuity / Short Term) If any policy contract is with a bank or an insurance company as security, attach a list of, showing where it is and which insurance company is the underwriter.

Membership books or cards, Actual Aid Societies, or other Associations from which death benefits may be derived i.e. ATKV, Funeral Funds or Staff Association, plus a list of addresses and contact numbers of the Societies or associations.

All licences to possess firearms (if not in ID Book) and personal documents relating to your person.

A document showing his grade, work station, pension number, designation and departmental address as well as the office telephone number of his controlling manager.

Registration certificates and license receipts of all vehicles.

Title deeds of fixed properties, or a list showing the applicable property and where the title deeds are.

All promissory notes in your favour of details of your creditors.

All lease contracts, partnership agreements, and other relevant documents.

A list showing where all cash accounts (Cheque, saving or fixed deposit) is kept. As many as possible of the certificates should be kept together in this file, including share certificates.

Particulars of your employer, employer's pension and group assurance.

Income tax assessment (latest) and loan levy certificates.

Join the Union

When drafting a Will it is highly recommended that you go to a professional for help.

Attorneys, banks, accountants and trust companies are all qualified to help you, but try to appoint a trusted family member or friend as your executor.

Join the Union