Winding up a deceased estate
The administration process of a deceased estate is done within the framework and compliance with the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965.
Viv Greene Attorneys will be provide services related to
DECEASED ESTATES ADMINISTRATION
We assist Nominated Executors with the winding up of Estates and obtaining either the Letters of Authority or Letters of Executorship.
We take charge of the entire administration process and wind up the Estate.
We further assist with aggrieved heirs by liaising with the Executors on their behalf
The Administration of Deceased Estates is itself a complicated process. Death is a difficult time for all concerned and few are equipped to cope with all the legal and financial consequences of death. It takes professionals with a sound, working knowledge and expertise in the winding up of Deceased Estates, to guide the process, from reporting the Estate to the Master of the High Court, through the exacting procedures prescribed by law, to final distribution of the Estate to the beneficiaries, in an efficient, yet empathetic manner.
The history or origins of the deceased estates
A deceased estate comes into existence when a person dies leaving property or a document which is a will or purports to be a will. The administration of a deceased in South Africa is governed by the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987, whereas the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 provides for the procedure that must be followed when administering a deceased estate.
What does it mean to ‘WIND UP AN ESTATE?’
The winding up of an estate is an administrative process which is undertaken in conjunction with the appropriate Master’s office. The Master’s office is essentially a government department with oversight functions to make sure the relevant taxes and creditors are paid in terms of the law and the heirs are paid in terms of the wishes of the testator.
WINDING UP AN ESTATE
There are 6 distinctive stages in the process of winding up an estate:-
1. Gathering all the background preliminary documentation and lodging the estate with the appropriate Masters office;
2. After receiving the letters of executorship advertising the estate for the benefit of potential creditors;
3. Evaluating the creditor’s claims, closing bank accounts, collecting investments and paying the creditor’s including SARS;
4. Preparing the estate accounts (commonly referred to as the liquidation and distribution accounts) and submitting them to the Master for approval;
5. On approval by the Master advertising the accounts for public inspection;
6. After advertising, assuming no additional accounts, paying out the heirs and arranging transfer
To which Master must the estate be reported?
One must distinguish between those instances where the deceased was resident within the Republic and those where he or she was not resident within the Republic.
Where the deceased was resident in the Republic, the estate must be reported to the Master in whose area of jurisdiction the deceased was resident at the time of his/her death. At present there are Master’s Offices in Pretoria, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg, Grahamstown, Bisho, Umtata, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Mmabatho/Mafikeng, Johannesburg, Polokwane, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Thohoyandou.
Where the deceased was not resident in the Republic at the time of his/her death, the estate may be reported to any Master, provided it is reported to only one Master
Types of estates Viv Greene Attorneys transfers to the Masters Office
- Estates with wills
- Estates with a value of more than R50 000,00
- Insolvent estates
- Estates where one or more of the beneficiaries are minors and is not assisted by a legal guardian and the cash assets in the estate is worth more than R20 000,00
Reporting a deceased estate
The death is to be reported by any person having control or possession of any property or document being or purporting to be a will, of the deceased. The estate is reported by lodging a completed Death Notice with the Master. The Death Notice and other reporting documents may be obtained from any Office of the Master of the High Court or Magistrate’s Office.
The reporting documents will differ slightly depending on the value of the estate and the type of appointment required. If the value of the estate exceeds R125 000, letters of executorship must be issued and the full process prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act must be followed.
Viv Greene Attorneys can assist with
- We assist Nominated Executors with the winding up of Estates and obtaining either the Letters of Authority or Letters of Executorship.
- Assist Nominated Executors – we assist appointed Executors with the winding up of the Estates. Our approach is the same as if we were the appointed Executor. We take charge of the entire administration process and wind up the Estates.
- We take charge of the entire administration process and wind up the Estate.
- We further assist with aggrieved heirs by liaising with the Executors on their behalf
Master of the High Court enquiries
- We assist both individuals and companies to address queries from the Masters Office.
- We attend to investigations and searches as well as make application for certified copies for use inside the Republic of South Africa and for use outside the Republic of South Africa.
Lodgement at the Master of the High Court
- Being a Pietermaritzburg based law firm we are withing close proximity to the Master’s Office.
- We assist both Law firms and Accounting firms with the lodgement of documents at the Master’s Office and attend to all the queries and follows ups thereof.
Where the need arises, we take on appointment as curator, this involves the administration of an individual’s property where that individual is unable to take care of his/her own estate and affairs.
We assist business owners with voluntary liquidations of their business entities.
Registration / de-registration – We assist with the Registration of both Family Trusts and Property Trusts, as well as obtaining the necessary Letters of Authority from the Master of the High Court. Likewise, we assist with the de-registration of same.
Amendments – We prepare all the necessary documents required for making changes to a Trust Deed.
Trustees – We assist with the removal, assumption, appointment and de-registration of a Trustee, we then proceed to obtain the relevant Letters of Authority from the Master of the High Court.