Widow finally paid out

Most people who make wills do so because they know they cannot take their wealth with them when they die.

Most people who make wills do so because they know they cannot take their wealth with them when they die.

This, of course, means that we have to draw up valid wills.

The late Elijah Mntambo, who died last year, did exactly that in 2002 and bequeathed his accumulated assets to his wife, son and granddaughter.

Mntambo's estate had to be distributed within a reasonable time, according to his widow Margaret.

But Consumer Line had to step in for Absa to expedite her claim.

Absa apologised profusely for the delay and inconvenience they had caused Mntambo.

After her husband's death, she notified Absa, the executor of her late husband's estate, and completed the required forms for the bank to act on her claim.

"I thought it would take three months but later accepted that I could not put pressure on the bank when I did not know their processes in discharging payment," said Mntambo.

She signed one form after the other each time she visited her branch to inquire about progress on the claim.

"I thought my worries were over when a Mr Mdluli promised that our inheritance would be ready for distribution on July 10," said Mntambo.

The aggrieved Mntambo said Mdluli sent her on a wild goose chase. He referred her to Alberton to collect her money when the matter had not been processed at all.

A helpful Boni Albert at the Alberton branch agreed to see her even though she did not have an appointment.

"We were shocked to find that Mdluli had not submitted any documents to the relevant authorities," she said.

The bank then processed her claim and this weekend Mntambo will conduct a cleansing ceremony for her late husband.

Deon Oosthuizen said because of internal reasons, the claim was only reported to Absa Trust for processing last week.

"The situation was further affected by the appointment of an executor by the Master's office, which is experiencing severe delays as a result of the recent strike by public servants.

"We are, however, pleased to inform Mntambo that the Absa Investment Management Services (Aims) has now received all the necessary documentation, including the appointment of Absa Trust as executor.

He said Aims had made a full payment last Friday to the estate bank account at Absa Trust for onward distribution to the bene- ficiaries nominated in the will.

"We thank Mntambo for her patience," said Oosthuizen.

If you die without leaving a will, you are said to have died "intestate" and the rules of intestate succession will determine who acquires ownership of your assets.

l By drawing up a will you can arrange for your assets to be distributed among your relatives or friends in the proportions of your choice rather than those laid down by the rules of intestate succession.

The rules in intestacy, for example, give the surviving spouse limited rights, whereas many people prefer to leave their entire estate to their surviving spouse to deal with as he or she may wish.

l You can, for example, also leave specific property to a specific person in a will. Unless you specify who is to inherit what, you cannot be certain of that outcome.