Before we look at the various steps, we need to understand that deceased estates fall into one of two categories, below R250,000 or above R250,000.
In this article I address the steps required for deceased estate where the value exceeds R250,000.
The Master of the High Court would need to appoint an executor for the estate and issue a Letter of Executorship. The Master of the High Court will only issue such a letter when we comply with the necessary requirements.
Steps in the estate administration process:
- Report the estate to the Master – To report the estate a number of documents need to be submitted to the Master. The documents need to be physically submitted to the master and emails or faxes won’t do. These documents include:
- Completed Death Notice (afror eng) form – J294 (pdf)
- Original or certified copy of the Death Certificate
- Original or certified copy of Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
- All original wills and codicils or documents purporting to be such (if any)
- Completed Next-of-Kin Affidavit– J192 (if the deceased did not leave a valid will)
- A Declaration of Marriageby the Surviving Spouse indicating how the deceased was married
- Completed Inventory form – J243, showing all the assets of the deceased
- Nominationsby the heirs for the appointment of an executor in the case of an intestate estate or where no executor has been nominated in the will, or the nominated executor declines the appointment.
- Completed Acceptance of Trust as Executor (eng) forms – J190 in duplicate by the person(s) nominated as executor(s)
- Undertaking and bond of security– J262 (unless the nominated executor has been exempted from furnishing security in the will, or is the parent, spouse or child of the deceased)
- Certified copy of the ID of the person to be appointed as Executor.
- Place advert in Government Gazette and local newspaper – This notice calls for all creditors and debtors to submit claims or pay debts to the executor within 30 days from publication of the advertisement.
- Executor to obtain valuations for all assets in the estate and certificates for indebtedness – The executor will also determine if the deceased had any life insurance policies, determine the value of the cover and identify beneficiaries.
- Executor will prepare the Liquidation & Distribution Account – The executor will need to account for all assets, liabilities, income, expenses, taxes, liquidity and bequests. This is a technical aspect of the estate and should be attended to by a professional.
- Submit the Liquidation & Distribution Account
- The executor will submit the Liquidation & Distribution Account and certain supporting documentation to the Master. At this stage the Master will call on supporting documents to verify the information reflected in the Liquidation & Distribution Account
- Accounts are advertised to give the public an opportunity to inspect the estate at the Masters Office or Magistrate Court for 21 days
- On expiry of the 21 days, and if no objections were lodged at the Masters Office the Master will authorise the executor to distribute the estate within 60 days
- Final distribution of the estate only takes place on receipt of tax clearance from SARS. This process can delay distribution of the estate
- The executor will then attend to pay all creditors and attend to the formal transfer of all assets to the determined beneficiaries
- A request to discharge the executor can then be lodged at the Master
As you can see wrapping up an estate is a time-consuming and technical process and it is advisable to call in the services of an estate specialist to assist.
Please feel free to get in touch if you or someone you know needs assistance wit a deceased estate