What is the Process in the Administration of Deceased Estates?

There are two processes when it comes to the administration of deceased estates. If the value of the estate is less than R200 000, a simple process must be followed.

If the value of the estate is more than R200 000, the process is more complex – as follows:

  • Reporting the estate to the Master of the High Court, in order to obtain the Letter of Executorship.
  • On receipt of the Letter of Executorship, the death must be reported to all the institutions with which the deceased had dealings, including SARS.
  • An estate bank account must be opened to receive monies belonging to the estate.
  • An advertisement must be placed in the local newspaper where the deceased lived, and the Government Gazette, notifying creditors of his or her death. The creditors have 30 days to submit their claims against the estate to the executor.
  • All assets and liabilities must be ascertained, together with the values and outstanding balances as at date of death.
  • After the first advertisement period has expired, the executor will finalise the Liquidation and Distribution account, giving a summary of the assets and liabilities in the estate, together with the allocation of the assets to the beneficiaries which will be lodged with the Master’s office.
  • The Master will make sure that the assets are distributed in accordance with the will of the deceased or in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, if the deceased had no will. A questionnaire will be issued by the Master. If the Master is satisfied with the account, the Master will instruct the executor to place a second advertisement in the local newspaper where the deceased lived, and the Government Gazette, notifying the creditors that the account was submitted to the Master. The notice invites creditors to peruse the account and to lodge an objection against the account if they are not satisfied with it (e.g. their claims have not been included in the account, etc.). The creditors have 21 days to lodge their objections.
  • If no objections were lodged, the executor may distribute and transfer the estate assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will or Intestate Succession Act.

Contact us for assistance in Administering a Deceased Estate.