Funeral expenses are a matter of life or death

Angela Graham

Angela Graham

Most of us worry about the cost of living and shy away from thinking about the cost of dying.

Anyone who has had to pay for a funeral knows that it's not cheap. The bills come at a time when mourners would rather be left alone to deal with their pain.

Funeral costs vary between R10000 and R20000 for a "cheap" adult funeral - but could cost as much as R40000 - and between R5000 and R10000 for a child's funeral.

Loved ones should also think about preparing a will, because an out-of-date will could cause endless hassles for a grieving family.

Hilton Galleid of Hilton Galleid Financial Services said insurance companies charge between about R300 and R500 to draw up a will. If they are the executors then they charge up to 3,5 percent executor's fee on the gross value of the estate plus VAT under certain circumstances.

"I mostly recommend to my clients that they choose a family member as the executor with the option of appointing an attorney to help them. I also advise that if the will is complicated that they seek the advice of a tax expert," Galleid said.

Apart from cash-eroding costs like executor's fees, capital gains tax is also levied on the estate. This is CGT is a tax that is levied on any capital gain.

Correctly structuring these transactions might lead to substantial estate duty savings so it is better to consult a specialist if the estate is complicated.