Estates, executors and those unlucky enough not to be dead.
My aunt died over two years ago. 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, 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 neices, 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.
We're two years down the line.
So far, the cash has been dispensed - 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 as your executor I can assure you that you have absolutely no idea at all. 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 you can do to stop them. Because, remember, you're 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 I have spoken to as well.
There are laws. Right?
Right. The exact same laws that apply to Zuma apply to the Nedbank/Old Mutual conglomerates. 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".
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!
I kid you not. Nedbank used the deat of my aunt to peddle their investment crap with me. They actually asked me for my information so that they could add me to their database of people to fuck over with their shitty investment offerings. BEFORE they disbursed the sum of cash my aunt specifically willed to me.
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".
DO NOT MAKE A BANK YOUR EXECUTOR! EVER!
My dad died having banked with Barclays later FNB from his first pay cheque. When he died the bank sent us an email saying they were going to revoke their executorhsip because his estate fell under a threshold which made it worth their while to "deal with".
In other words, thanks for the cash over a lifetime and now: fuck you. Fuck your heirs. You won't care... because hey, you're dead!
Personally I cannot wait for them to give us that letter renouncing their executorship. My dad had some modest investments - the bulk of his estate is already in my mother's name always has been and she'll be OK for the rest of her days. That the bank is blissfully unaware is remarkable, given that some of them are with them and are detailed in their records. Whatever.
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), 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 make to you?
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.
My aunt worked for Barclays bank almost all her life and was frugal and careful with her money. Being the eldest she grew up fastest with the passing of my granddade. Liz was generous though with we 7 odd nieces and nephews and never forgot a birthday. She was the only true redhead in the family, a proper fiery one if provoked and although I never ever recall a word spoken by her in anger I know she would be outraged at the ongoings post her death and would not have stood for it. She had a clear sense of right and wrong.
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.
I resisted. It went all the way to the Ombudsman where I then left it, the point having been made. They won't change - Nedbank's attitude is to view inheritances as an opportunity to suck investment "advice and fees" from the bereaved, many of them elderly and unfamiliar with the predatory nature of investment advice given these days by the bank, whose interests are to serve themselves as profitably as possible off the back of someone no longer around to defend against it.
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.
However, only some 40% of the estate was ever distributed. Yet, Nedbank, of course, claimed their commission, upfront with VAT added, posted as remuneration. 3.5% of the total estate value.
I am sorry but this is payment for services rendered. Given that some 60% of the estate has NOT been distributed, and that which was, was placed, against my mother's (a beneficiary) wishes into Nedbank Unit Trusts - more costs incurred (into guess who's back pockets), I'd like to know what the f^#@ is going on.
My interest in this is limited - it is because my mother is now dealing full time with my terminally ill brain cancer ridden father at the moment that I have taken up the cause. My co-party in this, my cousin, has been utterly gnored by Nedbank in her queries/complaints over the issue and several emails from me to the parties - both Nedbank and now Old Mutual who are asking what they need to do with the cash they have on hand and are looking to ME to address the issues that Nedbank have been paid, upfront, and in full, to supposedly render.
Needless to say, said cash from the estate would be of value to my mother, a little old lady, dealing with one of life's true horrors with fortitude and bravery (our gene pool is strong). She, alone against the might of a Nedbank, seemingly unaccountable, and unanswerable to anyone.
I will not allow this to pass. I feel a bit like Gandalf and the Balrog - with the exception that I do not have the resources or the powers of Gandalf. Nonetheless, if this is to be the end of this sorry sordid affair, let it be such an end that it will cause Nedbank pause, cost them 100 times the value of the sum of monies they have exploited from an estate that they thought they could simply f^#@k over as hard as possible.
Let them think again.
The new Update: July 2021. So far all efforts to attain resolution have failed. I have been passed from pillar to post, offered half arsed explanations. Try to get hold of the office of the CEO. I challenge anyone of you. Imanaged to get hold of a Candice - this after phoning head office 6 times. 5 times they put me through to the complaints call centre, on the 6th occasion when I explained to a Dan that I could keep this up until such time as my car arrived at their head office and I was going to invite myself up to the CEOs office for an informal discussion - because one way or another they were going to put me through he was kind enough to give me her number. It is 010 214 7547 for anyone else wanting to get to the CEO of Nedbank Michael Brown, or least one of his PAs.
I get it - he's the head of a multi billion rand bank. I am sure he has surrounded himself with dozens of acolytes all singing his praises and I am sure he is a tremendously successful man in his own right - he's made millions and squillions of rands by working hard and taking risks. Why would he want to deal with little old me and this miserable little case of a dead old spinster who means nothing at all to him but an R80k contribution to the bottom line of his vast corporate machine?
It is because as I put in the email to firstname.lastname@example.org that "the vacuum packed produce of financial returns earned and distributed to the shareholders, of which he is a substantial one, that come neatly presented in a spreadsheet laundered, dressed and pressed, is I am afraid, far removed from the coal face of where the dirty work is being done. It does not preclude the responsibility that goes hand in hand with it. "
The CEO of a large mine does not care about the people using his product. He cares about the ore body and the people that mine it. His sales team worries about the end users. The CEO of a bank doesn't care about the beneficiaries of wills his bank is paid to Execute. He cares about the ore body, the people signing this lucre over to his bank. Different to a mine, he could care less about the people mining (executing) the will - it's product already sold and reflected on the bottom line.
This is why he should care about little old me. I AM his ore body.Well, in this case I never will be and with any luck anyone reading this will never be either.
Why do you think we have "financial advisers" these days? You now have to be "qualified" to offer advice as to what people should do with their money! Ha ha ha ha - who do you think these financial advisers are? Who pays them? If you think it's you - hey, good luck to you - I am sure you and your money will be well looked after.
Little old ladies never stood a chance. Easy meat.