My aunt died over two years ago i.e October 2019. She had her investments with Old Mutual. She, a spinster, without dependents and a fully legitimate easy to read will IS THE EPITOME of a simple estate. She had some investments, some cash and an RA.
So far the only people who have been paid in full are the Executors, in this case, Nedbank, who too their FULL fees to the maximum extent allowable by law, plus VAT, plus estimated expenses about a week after she died.
Whose money is it anyway?
Well, aside from being dead, it's actually hers. And she wanted to leave some of it to her nephews and nieces, and spilt the balance up amongst her siblings of which there were three - my mother, her sister and brother.
How hard could this be?
Well, as it happens, to truly fuck things up so spectacularly that it beggars belief you simply have to have the gigantic incompetence that comes with being Old Mutual/Nedbank.
Remember, we're two years down the line.
So far, only the cash in the bank accounts has been dispensed - as mentioned, AFTER Old Mutual and Nedbank have taken their (maximum) fees for administering the estate as the appointed executors.
Do you know what powers an executor has over your money when you're dead?
If you have a bank appointed as your executor I can assure you that you have absolutely no idea at all.
They control total power. And I do mean TOTAL POWER. For example, if they decide to take ten years to wind up your estate and then give all the money to their brother in law's charity trust for " the Shady Pines Retreat for Retired Shagged out Bunny Rabbits" there is NOTHING that you can do to stop them. Because, remember, you be DEAD!
And if you don't think they will, then I have some moonland to sell you. Because that is precisely what they have done to my aunt's estate, my dad's estate and everyone else's estate that I have spoken to as well.
But there are laws. Right?
Right. The exact same laws that apply to Zuma apply to the Nedbank/Old Mutual conglomerates. So, yeah, man, go for it! Take them on. Try get an Ombudsman once you're passed their PR spoofs and "promises" that really, "we're not like that".
You know how far you'll get? Of course it's not fair - that's the point! WHO DO YOU THINK SET UP THESE LAWS TO BEGIN WITH?
See above - yes, our incompetent government did, to PROTECT you!
Well, not you. You be dead remember? But to protect the innocent children, the poor sods who can't be trusted with your money, and of course SARS from it's vampiric hands in your pocket for the last and ultimately most insulting time (you won't care, happy dead person) - the laws are so amazingly strong in favour of the executor is it any wonder the banks practically insist on taking on the role?
It's about the money sunshine. And remember? You're dead. It's not yours anymore. It's theirs. And it is YOUR heirs that are left to deal with these fuckwits who pay themselves from your money, FIRST, and then have precisely zero incentive whatsoever other than to coerce/convince your heirs to invest with them. Because to a man, that is exactly what they all do.
You can't make this shit up. If it wasn't so disgustingly repellant in its poor taste it might even be funny as to the lengths they would go to to peddle their "investment advice".
So it's simple: DO NOT MAKE A BANK YOUR EXECUTOR!
The ultimate irony is this. Once you're permanently silent, you're permanently disempowered. Your heirs have zero rights. They don't even have the legal standing to request a statement of account of monies acrrued to or disbursed by the executor. The executor is legally obliged to give them zero information whatsoever.
They will tell you that they will keep them informed. But as I have learned long ago, if it's not the law, and if it is not written down in a legally binding agreement, it's just words. And, when it comes to the likes of these behemoths that earn trillions in fees handling estates (you figure out what 4.025% of every single person's final nett wealth is added up after Covid), who pay themselves upfront, in full do you really think you have the nounce to take them on if they decide to break their legal contract or fail to fulfill any of their many many bullshit promises they made to your dearly departed?
You'd be mad.
Appoint someone you know and love to be your executor. It is NOT difficult. It is NOT expensive. It is NOT complicated. There are NO onerous legal obligations. There is some simple paperwork to follow, and if there are decisions to be made the chances are that the rights ones will be made because at the end of the day, you're still dead and powerless, and your wishes are most likely to be correctly carried out by the person you chose to do so.
And you can ensure that exactly what you want to have happen, happens.
The full Nedbank Story.
My dear old aunt Liz, a spinster died peacefully at the ripe old age of 92 in August 2019. This is written June 2021, as near as two years after the event.
She was custodian of my grandmother's estate on behalf of the four children, (being the eldest). My gran was a self made woman in the wool trade when my granddad passed away young and left her with four small kids. She, in a day and age when women weren't supposed to do these things, did it, kicked ass and took names in the process. She did OK, made some cash, put the kids through uni and looked after herself in her old age. A proper battle axe but gentle, and generous to a fault with family.
Nedbank were appointed the executors of her estate - my aunt was a great one for moving her investments around and literally squirreling cash here and there as she saw fit. I can't say she was the greatest at her decision making but she owned it, retired and lived out her days in the thriving humming metropolis of Mossel Bay.
And so it begins.
The first brush of fun I had was to discover that my aunt had left all of us nieces and nephews some money. It was not a lot but Nedbank deemed it an ideal opportunity to predate on the opportunity to mine me for personal information for 'marketing purposes'. It's a disgusting shameful practise couched as it was in terms of being a requirement to obtain possession of a modest sum of cash bequeathed to me by my dear old aunt.
It's ingenious, if diabolical - it would be nice if there were a little more honesty about what they are doing. I could even admire it, but I do not think I could ever f^#@ over anyone as hard as they attempt to - my moral code simply doesn't allow it.
The bulk of the estate was left to be split three ways. The executor, in this case, a Mr Hein Janse van Rensburg, from Nedbank managed to deliver a distribution account on the 9th of March 2021. We know estates take a long time to wind up, so 18 months later is I suppose something we all have to live with.
Little old ladies never stood a chance. Easy meat.