By Marteen Michau, 11 June 2013
Property: Assets outside South Africa.
Examples of non-SA assets, include equities listed on exchanges in foreign countries, shares in unlisted foreign companies, offshore bank accounts, loans made by you to non-residents, immovable properties situated in other countries, foreign unit trust funds and other investments held in foreign countries.
Foreign assets (e.g. bank accounts) located in common law jurisdictions may be dealt with more efficiently by having joint tenants on the account. If set up correctly, offshore probate can thus be avoided. On the death of one of the joint owners, the asset will thereafter be held in the name of only the remaining account holder/s and they will be able to carry on transacting on the bank account. Assets held under joint tenancy are not dealt with in the joint owner’s Will, except on simultaneous death of all the joint tenants/account holders.
Loans to non-residents (e.g. to offshore trusts) may be bequeathed in the offshore Will to the offshore trust without incurring Capital Gains Tax, after the recent change in legislation effective from 1 March 2013.
If you are a South African tax resident, your foreign assets normally form part of your dutiable estate in South Africa (worldwide assets for estate duty purposes) and may also be subject to inheritance taxes in the jurisdiction where it is situated.
The Fiduciary and Tax team at Sanlam Private Investments draft SA and foreign Wills for assets in different jurisdictions and can provide the appropriate legal and tax advice thereon. Kindly firstname.lastname@example.org in this regard.