Who we are and how we operate:
Fathima Rahim Attorneys is a boutique law firm situated in Pietermaritzburg. The practice attends to the administration of deceased estates, registration of Trusts and the drafting of Wills.
We believe that by focussing on a single area of law, we ensure that we remain at the forefront of developments. This also ensures that we continue to provide our clients with the level of service and support that they expect and deserve during what is usually one of the most difficult times in their lives.
The firm operates predominantly as a mobile practice. This means that, wherever possible, we consult with our clients at a venue that is convenient for them. This operating model makes it possible for us to render services to clients in Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Johannesburg. In most instances, we meet with clients at their business premises or places of employment. Alternatively, we make use of centrally located shared meeting facilities.
Administration of deceased estates:
When assisting with a deceased estate matter, we are guided by the expectations of the family. Some clients prefer to be actively involved in the administration of the estate while others want to have as little as possible to do with the daily reminders of what they have lost. Whatever the situation, we work with our clients to ensure that the administrative process is as painless as possible and that the estate is wound up as quickly as possible.
Despite this, it should be noted that the speed at which we finalise an estate is directly related to the co-operation of various private, corporate and government entities. It takes only one institution to cause a frustrating delay in the administrative process. As a result, although it is quite possible for us to finalise an estate within 7 to 12 months, we have experienced instances where it has taken approximately 16 months to finalise a matter. Although this longer administrative period is by no means the norm, it is a possibility that must be borne in mind.
Although we do not attend to the administration of Trusts, we do assist with the drafting and registration of new inter vivos trusts deeds.
Trusts are created for various reasons, including for estate planning purposes, to protect personal assets from business risks, to preserve an asset or to benefit a specific person. A trust may also be created for charitable purposes or to carry on a business.
Testamentary trusts are created in terms of a Will and all our Wills come standard with provisions that provide for the creation of a Trust for minor beneficiaries.
Drafting of Wills:
The Will is one of the most important documents that one can have. Whether you only have a single bank account or whether you have multiple investments, the Will ensures that your assets, whatever these may be, goes to a person, or persons, nominated by you.
If you do not have a valid Will, the assets will devolve in terms of the Intestate Succession Act. This Act does not support the directives of Customary Law or Shariah Law. In addition, if the intestate heirs do not have an amicable relationship, division of the estate could be substantially delayed. Where a person has minor children, it is especially important to ensure that a Will is in place to safeguard their interests.
Drafting a Will may also highlight liquidity issues that may exist in a person's estate. Early detection of such an issue allows an individual sufficient time to undertake an estate planning exercise and to adopt measures to alleviate the problem. Taking such a step may enable you to leave behind a legacy for your loved ones and could ensure that your family is not burdened by the financial demands of the estate administration process.