DECEASED ESTATES QUESTIONS

Everything that a deceased person owned during his or her life is referred to as the person’s “deceased estate”.

The executor is the person appointed by the deceased person in his or her will or by the Master of the High Court if the person did not leave a will.

The executor is the person who will wind up the estate.

It is the process of handing in the prescribed forms and information that must be handed in to the Master of the High Court of everything the deceased person owed, who the relatives are, the will and that type of information so that the Master can start the formal process of winding up the estate by issuing a letter of executorship to the person that must wind up the estate.

To the Master of the High Court who has the jurisdiction over the deceased estate.

The Master is a state department who oversees all deceased estates.

The assets of the deceased person should be kept safe until such time as the executor is ready to transfer the assets to the deceased’s heirs.

The executor will close all the bank accounts of the deceased person as soon as the executor has received his or her appointment as executor.

The executor will open a new bank account and transfer all the monies to this one new bank account, before the monies are transferred to the heirs of the deceased person.

The Deceased’s estate must pay for the funeral and medical costs. If there are no monies for this, then the assets of the estate must be sold first to pay for these costs.

If there are no assets and no monies, the deceased estate is insolvent.

If the value of the estate is more than R3.5million, the deceased’s estate will pay estate duty.

This is usually paid at the end of the winding-up process.

When persons are married in community of property, they share one estate of which each owns an undivided 50% share.

If one of the spouses dies, his/her 50% undivided share of the communal estate must be dealt with.

When persons are married out of community of property, each one has their own estate. Only the estate of the person that has died will be wound-up. The surviving spouse’s estate will not be dealt with in the winding-up process

Accrual applies between the two parties and has no effect on the outside word.

Accrual also only applies when the marriage is ended. A marriage is ended either through divorce or death.

When one of the spouses dies, the accrual of the two estates will be calculated and then dealt with.

Accrual means the value of the growth of both spouses’ estates.

It is difficult to say.

If all goes well and smoothly and there are no hiccups or weird things happening, the winding-up process should take about 1 year.

However, it depends on what assets there are, how the assets are dealt with, how much co-operation there is from interested parties, how effective the Master’s offices are and so forth.

This is a list of all the assets that the deceased person owned.

The family members will give a list of the assets to the executor and the executor will complete the required form.

If the deceased estate is insolvent, certain steps must be followed in the winding up of it.

Contact our offices. It is unfortunately too complex to discuss here.

It means to follow all the steps that must be followed to handle the affairs of the deceased person and to transfer assets to the heirs.

When all the steps are done and the master has approved the liquidation and distribution account, the estate is regarded as “wound up”.

There are the costs of the executor, which depends on the value of the estate.

The assets must be transferred to the heirs and if it involves immovable property, there are costs to transfer the property to the heirs.

There are advertising costs and master fees as well and there could be other costs involved

The estate is supposed to pay it but if there is no moneys in the estate assets must be sold to pay the costs.

Obtain a copy from the Master of the High Court.

Lodge a complaint with the Master of the High Court or employ our services so that we can take the necessary legal action on your behalf.

If the will cannot be found, it means that the deceased would have died intestate.

If a person has left no will, then the Intestate Succession Act must be followed.

Read more about this on our page regarding wills.

This is the account that the executor will draft when he or she has wound up the estate to show to the master what he or she has done with all the assets and the moneys in the estate.

This is so that the master can monitor that the executor has dealt in the correct manner with the assets of the deceased.

When the master has approved the liquidation and distribution account.

If you need money for maintenance beforehand, you must liaise with the executor.

Report him/her to the master or take legal action.

It is never too late to report an estate to the master and wind it up.

It may just be very difficult because the assets may not be available any longer.

The estate must still be reported to the master, but the long process of winding it up is not necessary.

This is a document issued by the Master of the High Court that appoints the executor.

As soon as the executor is appointed, he/she must open a bank account in the name of the deceased estate, so that all the monies that belonged to the deceased be paid into this one account.

The reasons for this is that the executor can get control over the monies of the deceased instead of the monies being in separate accounts.

This also saves costs.

The costs must be paid, or the estate cannot be wound up.

If there are assets in the estate, and the heirs cannot pay the costs of the estate, the assets must be sold to cover the costs.

If it is movable assets (furniture, computers for example) it is given to the heirs.

Usually they are already in possession of the assets. If it is immovable assets (a house/flat/erf/townhouse/farm/plot) it must be transferred to the heirs by a conveyancer/transferring attorney.

If it is a motor vehicle the necessary documents must be signed and the vehicle must be transferred to the name of the heir by the traffic department. This means somebody must stand in a queue, it is usually not the executor.

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