This Webinar was hosted by the Mail & Guardian and Capital Legacy. It featured Alex Simeonides, Chief Executive Officer, and Brandon Garbutt, Managing Director of Capital Legacy, and was moderated by James Lennox, Managing Director of Milk+Sugar.
Only 30% of South Africans currently have Wills and very few people are aware of the many costs associated with winding up an estate. The stats show that not many people have prioritised drafting their Will but Covid-19 has awoken many to the reality of death and the importance of a Will. Many think that the task of planning what will happen with your estate is laborious, but this does not need to be the case. Your financial advisor should be the person who facilitates your Will draft while putting your estate plan in place. Capital Legacy Solutions (CLS) has what it calls “the golden thread”, which links all of this together.
There are not only executor’s fees, but also conveyance attorney and testamentary trust fees, if applicable, when you die. CLS has a long-term insurance product that meets this financial need and its vision is to provide as many South Africans as possible with a Will, at no cost. The insurance product aims to replace 100% of the fees incurred by an estate with monthly premiums (on average R180/month), that you pay while you are alive, so your beneficiaries do not have to carry the cost.
The company’s approach is to offer one-on-one, personalised consultations. Normally, consultants would go out and meet with Clients, in their homes or where it is convenient for them, but lockdown has altered the way things are done. Under the lockdown regulations, the company has used various technologies to achieve meeting with Clients and ensuring that it still provides one-on-one, personalised consultations. When it comes to executing a Will — you only get one chance. So, it’s imperative to ensure that a Will is valid and up to date.
CLS brought out a new product offering for the frontline workers in the public sector, during lockdown. In addition to this, they have put in place certain measures to support financial advisors, as both financial and relational hardships are experienced by them during this Covid-19 pandemic. The company has instituted a debt-relief campaign for advisors who have a debit balance with them, provided a grace period, enabled early receipt of renewals, and helped by incentivising fees for Will-drafting leads. For Clients, CLS has released an unlimited product which means they do not cap the value of the services they provide.
One of the concerns raised on the live chat was how to get a Will signed, during lockdown. CLS has been lobbying to change the legislation with regards to this as legally you need a “wet” signature (one physically made with pen on paper), and your Will has to be witnessed by two people who do not stand to benefit from your estate. To meet the need created by these unprecedented times, the company has brought out a Wills Signing Benefit which caters for the legal cost of the company applying to the High Court to accept a Will that does not meet the signing regulations, because it was signed during lockdown and the limitations this created. The benefit automatically assigns R30 000, to any premium-paying Client who has drafted or amended their Will during lockdown and who, unfortunately, passes away.
The company has a vision to be the industry leaders and that means that they innovate and constantly create and adapt through learning. They use each experience to analyse whether their clients and brokers’ needs are adequately met, and if not, they change and adapt as they learn. The products and services CLS provides meet and fulfil every step from drafting your Will to covering the costs that will be incurred when you pass away and finally to administering your estate. As they follow this process, they learn new things. “We never have the perfect product; we keep innovating and we keep listening,” said Alex Simeonides.
The Legacy Protection Plan™ provides you with services, which contribute zero additional cost to your overall premium. These integrated benefits release immediate cash to the beneficiaries so they can deal with extra costs like flying in family, and covers overheads so that, for instance, school fees and medical aid premiums are covered. The plan fills the gaps and looks after the beneficiaries. The policy is also based on what people can afford and all CLS clients are covered if they contract the Coronavirus, even if they take out the policy during lockdown.
One of the questions posted on the live chat, asked: If someone is not mentioned in a will but is married in community of property, can they claim against that will? Simeonides responded to say that: “In community of property means the estate is shared 50/50, and nothing can be done to change that. In addition, even if a spouse is not mentioned in a will, they do have a marital claim. Nelson Mandela cleverly put a clause in his will to open up other possibilities in this regard.”
Under lockdown, CLS really wanted to reach out to its advisors, of whom it has thousands. It has launched campaigns and has increased its social media activity. “We are trying to share industry knowledge, and we have opened up discussions to explore certain issues. We have online meetings for our staff; we have been helping some brokers with IT issues; and we engage with them and keep them up to date,” said Brandon Garbutt. The company has not seen a slowdown with regards to the turnaround of services within its control such as storing or retrieving Wills, in answering questions, etc. They have kept all administrative roles in the business active.
Regarding estates, the Masters and Deeds’ offices were closed, so the key thing has been to communicate, because the estate administration journey is a very tense time. The company ensured that its admin was up to date so that when these offices opened, they delivered a truckload of papers and were first in the queue. There have been frustrations for those who have lost loved ones, as very little can happen now, so the company has focused on staying in contact and communicating often.
On the issue of coming out of this crisis, the company is concerned about the middle market: the restaurants, the hairdressers, the travel agents. There hasn’t been enough fiscal help. Businesses are going to have to be resilient, and CLS is doing all it can to create some certainty during these uncertain times.
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