Beneficiaries who are left a specific gift of land, money or goods are not entitled to obtain general information about the estate. They are however entitled to reasonable diligence from the executors. If a gift has not been transferred within a year of death, then an explanation should be provided.
Beneficiaries entitled to a share in the residuary estate, which is the estate left after specific gifts, are entitled to:
- A copy of the statement of assets and liabilities
- A copy of annual accounts
- Inspection of share certificates, bank books, land titles, art works, jewellery etc and to see any valuation of these assets
- A copy of the will
If beneficiaries request copies of these documents, they must be prepared to pay any costs associated with the estate providing this information.
Beneficiaries who have particular wishes in relation to funeral arrangements should consult with the executor to establish whether there are any specific funeral directions in the deceased’s will.
A gift of income-earning property, such as rented land or shares, carries with it the income earned from the date of death. The beneficiaries will also have to bear all costs of maintaining the asset after the date of death.
The estate must pay interest on a cash gift to a beneficiary commencing one year after death. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of the rate of interest.