DECEASED ESTATES

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On The Dotted Line Consulting offers cost effective, efficient end-to-end assistance in the Adminstration of Deceased Estates in South Africa with a gross value of R500, 000.00+, as prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act, 66 of 1965 (as amended). We understand that losing a loved one can shake a family’s foundations to their very core – and that the last thing that loved ones want to have to deal with is the winding-up of their loved one’s estate. However, it is a necessity to have this done as timeously and efficiently as possible, so that you are able to move on as best as possible. We offer Executor services for all estates through our business unit SWIFTXRP.

The Estate Administration Process

The administration process for estates > R250 000 or more is defined in the Administration of Estates Act, in terms of which executors must follow these guidelines:

Notice of estate and appointment of executor
Preparatory work for compilation of Liquidation and Distribution account
Investigation of Liquidation and Distribution account by the Master
Liquidation and Distribution account for inspection
Finalisation of the estate (after inspection period and no objections lodged)
Total (of an average estate):

Notifying of the deceased estate and appointing an executor

To appoint an executor in an estate, the Master of the High Court must be officially notified of the death. This is set in action by sending certain prescribed documents to the Master. When the Master receives the reporting documents, he examines them and satisfies himself as to the validity of the will (when applicable). If he is satisfied, he appoints the executor by issuing a “letter of executorship”.

Only on receipt thereof may the executor officially begin to administer the estate. However, while the executor is waiting for the letter of executorship, he obtains all available information and documentary evidence to determine assets and liabilities in the deceased’s estate.

When an executor is appointed in terms of a nomination in a will, the process is known as a “testamentary” appointment. This is a process of appointment which normally runs smoothly.

Compiling a Liquidation and Distribution Account

  1. When the executor receives the letter of executorship, he/she is obliged to place a notice in the Government Gazette and in one or more local newspapers, requesting the creditors of the deceased to notify the executor of any claims against the estate within 30 days. During this 30-day period, the executor continues to obtain valuations of fixed and movable assets in the estate, as well as particulars of the deceased’s investments.
  2. As soon as all this information has been received, the executor determines if the estate has sufficient cash to meet its obligations. If not, the beneficiaries are consulted about the way in which they intend meeting the cash shortfall. If they are unable to do so, the executor will sell assets from the estate to cover the cash deficit. Selling of assets often leads to lengthy negotiations with beneficiaries, auctioneers and others, which can delay the administration of the estate.
  3. At this stage, the executor also determines the tax position of the deceased by submitting the necessary returns to the South African Revenue Services.
  4. Compiling a Liquidation and Distribution Account can take up to six months, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. In terms of the Administration of Estates Act, the executor must submit the account within six months of the issue of the letter of executorship, unless the Master of the Court has given permission in advance for a time extension.

Examination process

  1. On the basis of the information obtained, the Liquidation and Distribution Account sets out all assets, liabilities and administration costs, explains how assets are divided and determines if estate duty is payable. The account therefore sums up the entire administration process.
  2. The account is submitted to the Master of the Court for examination against certain legal rules. The Master may request further information and proof from the executor.

Inspecting the Liquidation and Distribution Account

  1. Once the Master is satisfied with the account, the executor makes it available for inspection by concerned parties for at least 21 days. This is achieved by placing a notice in the Government Gazette and in one or more local newspapers, indicating where the account will be open for inspection for the required period. Anyone who has an interest in the estate and who has an objection to the account may lodge an objection with the Master or, when applicable, a Magistrate, during the 21 day period.
  2. The Master refers any objections to the executor for a response. Once the Master has received the executor’s response, he will make a decision which must be obeyed by the executor.
  3. If the executor or the person who raised the objection doesn’t agree with the Master’s decision, they can, within 30 days or any further period of time the Court allows, apply to Court for an order to set aside the Master’s decision. This could result in the administration process being postponed indefinitely and the finalisation of the estate taking place only after the objection has been settled.

Finalising the estate

  1. If no objections are made against the Liquidation and Distribution Account, or if an objection has been settled, the executor can finalise the estate. He/she pays the creditors, hands over inheritances to the heirs and arranges for the transfer of fixed property in the names of those entitled to it. The process of transfer can take some time, as there are various legislative requirements to be met.
  2. As soon as proof has been provided to the Master that all creditors have been paid, that the heirs have received their inheritances and that the fixed property has been transferred, the estate is regarded as finalised and the executor’s duties come to an end.

Contact us on deceasedestates@otdline.co.za or swiftxrp@otdline.co.za