A deceased estate comes into existence when you pass away, leaving property or a document that is a will or claims to be a will. An estate needs to be administered and distributed in terms of the deceased’s will, or if there is no valid will, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987.

Did you know that when you pass away, your estate is frozen? No one can withdraw funds from your bank accounts or deal with any of the estate assets without the required permission of the Master of the High Court.

What else is important to know about a deceased estate?

Winding up a deceased estate needs to be done properly.

Consider these points:

  • If the deceased person was living in the Republic of South Africa, the estate needs to be reported to the Master of the High Court in whose area of jurisdiction the deceased was living 12 months before his death.
  • The estate of a deceased person needs to be reported to the Master of the High Court within 14 days of the date of death.
  • The Administration of Estates Act, 66 of 1965 (as amended) prescribes the procedure that has to be followed to administer a deceased estate.
  • A deceased estate can be reported by a family member of the deceased by lodging a death notice with the Master of the High Court. Any person who has control or possession of any asset that belongs to the deceased, or who has the deceased’s will, may report the estate.
  • What documentation is needed when a deceased estate is reported? The person who reports the deceased estate must complete a notice of death, and give the Master a set of documents that includes the death certificate, marriage certificate, the will and its codicils, an inventory of the deceased person’s assets, along with the chosen executor’s details.
  • After the estate has been registered, the Master will issue Letters of Executorship if the gross value of the estate exceeds R250 000. If it is less than that amount, then Letters of Authority will be issued.

As a Trust Specialist with 40 years of experience, I can assist you with drafting or reviewing your will. A will is an essential part of your estate plan. I highly recommend that you have a will created, and that you consider having a living (inter vivos) trust established. A living (inter vivos) trust is an excellent option for anyone as it ensures asset protection, and it is created when you are still alive.

I am available for meetings with my clients and I look forward to sitting with you and discussing any questions you may have about deceased estates, wills, and living trusts. Please get in touch to find out more about estate planning or if you would like a quotation.

DR MERVIN MESSIAS
JD (Juris Doctor) / BA, LLB (Wits) / TEP (Trust & Estate Practitioner)

Book an appointment with my Executive Assistant, Jutleth Mkhonza. Email julie@mmtrustspecialist.co.za or call +27 (0) 11 783 0108.