Most well-informed families simply arrange amongst themselves to distribute the more valuable and transportable assets of the matriarch or patriarch informally to family heirs before the executor arrives to tally up the score. This helps to reduce both the amount which will be payable to the executor (executor’s fees are levied at a maximum of 3.5% + VAT, but are negotiable) as well as the amount payable to SARS in the form of estate duty. They achive this by removing the assets from the family home very smartly if their parents did not distribute them during their lifetimes (a very good idea on many counts).
Beware, as SARS has become wise to this strategy and they are nowadays careful to check the list of assets covered by an insurance policy in order to check whether they have been short-changed or not. An idea mooted by a friend is to ensure that such assets are not specified…? This may not be a good idea for obvious, insurance claim-related reasons.