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Almost everyone will deal with the trauma of a loved one dying, but often this trauma is compounded by complicated and expensive estate administration, liabilities and unforeseen tax burdens. Most people do not realise the financial implications of dying, and many do not have enough cash in their estates to settle debts and pay costs, according to Louis van Vuren, CEO of the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (Fisa). Marietjie Strauss, regional manager for Gauteng at Sentinel Trust, says the first thing that must be paid for is the funeral. "Make sure your close relatives know what you budgeted for and where to collect the money from, such as a funeral policy or savings account. You don't want your family hosting a huge funeral chomping away on their inheritance if you planned for a small, intimate service," says Strauss. The next step is to report the estate to the master of the high court, where a specific legal process must be followed. The appointed executor must first settl...

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