The Situation

What do I do?

What do you do when somebody dies on your property?

Whether the death is expected or unexpected, most of us wouldn’t know what to do if someone died at our homes. According to Anton Naidoo, owner of Richards Bay Funeral Services, the first step you need to take is call a paramedic or medical practitioner who can pronounce the person’s death.

‘If a person dies of natural causes, such as cancer, stroke or a heart attack, at your home, the paramedic or medical practitioner will be able to declare the death,’ he says.

Thereafter the family needs to contact a funeral home to have the remains removed to the funeral parlour. At the funeral parlour, the deceased’s relatives and medical practitioner or funeral director need to identify the body before a death notice, also known as a BI-1663 Medical Certificate, can be issued. In natural causes, no autopsy is required. If the family insists on determining the exact cause of death, the funeral parlour can arrange for a private autopsy.

If the person has died of unnatural causes (for instance, an accident, murder, suicide or after a medical or surgical procedure), you need to call the police. The police will arrange for the body to be taken to a state mortuary where a compulsory forensic autopsy will be conducted according to the Inquest Act. The state mortuary will also issue the BI-1663 Medical Certificate. Once this is completed, the body will normally be released by the state. The deceased’s relatives should then engage with the funeral parlour to assist them further. Your funeral director will take care of all the necessary arrangements, such as obtaining the death notice, registering the death at Home Affairs and obtaining a Death Certificate and planning the funeral or cremation.

A will is an legal instruction instrument that describes exactly what should happen to a person’s assets after his/her death. It is one of the first documents that need to be produced when someone passes away, and thus a very important document to compile while you are still alive, says Wayne Lambert of Lambert Attorneys. ‘Having a will is your way to legally make sure that your estate is distributed exactly the way you wanted it,’ he says.

If someone passes away without having a will, the Law of Intestate Succession takes effect and the estate is then regulated by how the law says the property should be distributed. That means, the estate might be handled in a way that could be totally different to what you would have liked, Lambert says. While it is perfectly legal to draft your own will, Lambert advises to rather seek the help of an attorney or legal expert to ensure it is drafted correctly Either way, make sure that all the pages are signed by the testator (person making the will) and two witnesess.

‘It is important that the testator nominates a person as executor of his/her estate who they can trust and who is competent to handle the basics of administering a deceased estate,’ Lambert says. Nominating an executor is as simple as stating it in writing in your will. ‘Be specific in your will: name the executor and all beneficiaries including their full names, ID numbers. Also be clear on the description of assets to be distributed’ Once a will is drafted, it is very important that the testator makes his/her relatives aware that there is a will, and also where it is kept.

After someone has died

Upon a person’s death, one of the first things his/her relatives need to do is find out if the person had a will and where it is held. If there is no will, the person’s estate will be distributed according to the Law of Intestate Succession Irrespective if the person has a will or not, the value of the estate has to be determined. If it is valued under R250 000, the family needs to visit the deceased estates office at their nearest local Magistrate’s office. Here they will be required to submit a number of documents such as the deceased’s ID and Death Certificate to get the estate distribution process started. If their loved’s estate is valued at more than R250 000, the family would have to approach the Master of the High Court to submit the estate details.

Even where the deceased person had more debt than assets a Masters Representative or Executor will need to be appointed to administer the estate. When nominating your Executor, remember that if the executor is not directly related to the testator, it is required that a Bond of Security is obtained which adds cost to the distribution of one’s estate.This is a type of insurance that protects the estate against any misappropriation by the executor, but can also be excluded if stated in the will. Lambert says the deceased estate can take between six months and up to five years to be finalised. ‘Having a will gives both the testator and his/her relatives peace of mind,’ says Lambert, adding that everybody should have a will – regardless of the size of your estate.

035 789 9321

035 789 1999

0828 999 911

What do I do?

Breathing is an essential life function, and nothing terrifies a parent more than finding his or her child not breathing.

Babies sometimes have irregular breathing patterns or difficulty breathing. The cause could be as simple as a cold-related stuffy nose, a possible underlying lung condition such as asthma, or something serious like sleep apnea.

Newborns, and especially preemies, often do periodic breathing. This is when they go through a cycle of progressively rapid and deep breaths, followed by slow and shallow breaths and a 10-second pause. This phenomenon goes away as the baby’s lungs mature.

However, if your infant stops breathing for more than 15 seconds and become unresponsive, you need to intervene.

 

Warning signs

Parents should look out for the following signs that their infant is in trouble and needs immediate medical help:

  The baby’s lips, face or trunk is blue or purple. This means that the baby is not getting enough oxygen.

  The baby’s body is limp. If you pick up your baby and its arms, legs and head flop down, something is very wrong.

  The baby is rigid. A baby whose body is completely stiff might be in serious trouble. Call an ambulance right away!

  The baby is unresponsive or usually still and quiet. Babies are normally jumpy, squirmy and noisy. If baby doesn’t respond to your touch, call for medical help.

  The baby’s rib cage caves in with every breath. This indicates that the baby is working too hard to get air.

  The baby’s nostrils flare with each breath – a sign that it’s not getting enough oxygen.

  Wheezing, a high-pitched sound when baby breathes, or any signs of rapid or laboured breathing.

  Choking sounds. A baby making gagging and choking sounds may have an obstruction in his throat and needs your help.

  Baby is not If your baby is red-faced and visibly upset, but not making any sound, make sure they are breathing.

 

If your infant is not breathing, you need to start CPR.

If someone is with you, ask them to call an ambulance. If you’re on your own, give one minute’s worth of CPR before you call for help.

How to perform CPR on a baby

If your infant is not breathing, you need to start CPR.

If someone is with you, ask them to call an ambulance. If you’re on your own, give one minute’s worth of CPR before you call for help.

 

  • Place the baby on its back on a firm surface or on the floor.
  • Place one hand on the baby’s forehead and gently tilt the head back, then place one fingertip of your other hand on the point of the baby’s chin.
    • Remove any foreign objects from your infant’s mouth to ensure the airway is clear and open.
  • Take a breath in and place your lips around the baby’s mouth and nose to form an airtight seal.
    • If you cannot make a seal around the mouth and nose, close the baby’s mouth and make a seal around the nose only.
    • Blow steadily into the mouth until the chest rises.
    • Remove your mouth and allow the chest to fall.
    • Repeat four times more.
    • Now give 30 chest compressions.
    • Place two fingertips of your lower hand on the centre of the baby’s chest.
    • Press down vertically on the breastbone, and press the chest down by at least one third of its depth.
    • Release the pressure without moving your fingers from their chest. Allow the chest to come back up fully – this is one compression.
    • Repeat this 30 times, at a rate of about twice a second – the speed of the song ‘Staying Alive’.
    • Now give two rescue breaths.
    • Carry on giving 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths for as long as you can, or until help arrives.
    • If the baby starts breathing normally again, stop CPR.
  • Hold the baby in the recovery position. Cradle them in your arms, with their head tilted downwards. This will keep their airway open and stop them choking on their tongue or breathing in any vomit.

035 902 8000

What do I do?

Fender benders are a real pain in the neck.
While these types of motor vehicle accidents are rarely fatal or serious, they can leave a worse dent in your wallet than in the bodywork of your car.
What should you do when you are involved in a minor accident?

 Stop.
By law, you should stop your vehicle after hitting a car, person or animal. If you fail to stop and go for the hit-and-run option, you could face a fine of up to R180 000 or up to nine months’ imprisonment.
 Switch on your vehicle’s hazards and put out your emergency triangle.
It is compulsory for vehicles to carry an emergency triangle. Make sure the triangle is placed at least 45m from the accident scene with the reflective side facing approaching traffic.
 Check if anyone is hurt. If someone is injured, call an ambulance. Do not move the patient unless his life is in danger if he remains where he is.
Get all vehicle occupants to safety. Do not subject yourself to further injury by standing too close to the road. Many tragic accidents have happened where fender bender victims – or even Good Samaritans stopping to help – have been knocked over by passing vehicles.
Keep calm. Do not allow this to turn into a road rage incident.
Do not admit any wrongdoing. Even if you feel guilty, do not apologise or say it was your fault. Your well-intended words could be turned against you when the time comes for the other party to claim damages.
Take note of the time of the crash. Also jot down the road conditions and weather.
Find eyewitnesses. Are there helpful/curious bystanders on the scene? You need their names and contact details because they could be important eyewitnesses.
Record the damages. Use your cellphone to take pictures as soon as you can. Take clear photographs of the accident scene from different angles, the damage occurred to all vehicles, the surrounding area, the injuries and any damage to property. It is also helpful to take photos of the other vehicle’s licence disk and number plates.
Get the other driver’s details. You need the person’s:
• full names and surname
• ID number
• telephone number
• email address
• physical address
• place of employment
• name of insurance company.
Get the names of all police officers, traffic officers, medics and tow truck drivers on the scene.
Take note of the exact address or GPS location of where the accident occurred. You also need a detailed description of all the vehicles involved – colour, make and model and registration number.
Draw a sketch that explains how the accident took place, showing in which direction all vehicles involved were travelling. Include road names, landmarks, intersections and robots.
Report the accident. If no-one is injured and your vehicle is safe to drive, you may leave the scene. However, by law you have to visit a police station within 24 hours to report the accident and get a case number.
Notify your insurance company about the fender bender, even if the damage was minimal.
Repair your vehicle as soon as possible. The longer you wait to repair the damages, the worse they may get.

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