In the unfortunate event of a loved one passing away, the details of their estate needs to be processed properly to give your family peace of mind. The administration process ensures all the terms of his or her last will and testament (if there is one) are carried out correctly. The process itself is highly technical because each individual’s assets, family wishes and circumstances differ. Because of this, the estate administration process usually requires professional expertise.
What to do when a loved one dies.
Guidelines for estate administration process.
Summary of duties.
View frequently asked questions.
A sudden death in the family can be shocking and traumatising, that’s why we’ve compiled a detailed guideline of the immediate steps you need to take after the death of a loved one:
The administration process for estates of a gross value of R250 000 or more is defined in the Administration of Estates Act, in terms of which executors must follow these guidelines:
To appoint an executor of an estate (all your assets; property & debts including bank accounts; businesses and personal items), the Master of the High Court must be notified of the death through certain prescribed documents. He or she then examines them and once satisfied with the validity of the will the Master appoints the executor by issuing a "letter of executorship".
The duties of an executor are to ensure that the final wishes of a deceased person are carried out respectfully and effectively within the framework of legislation. An executor is usually the person considered most trustworthy to ensure the deceased person’s assets are divided up in terms of the last will and testament.
The successful administration of estates depends on the service from various external institutions, such as the South African Revenue Service, Master's office, insurance companies, retirement funds and many others. The time spent by these institutions to finalise the affairs of the deceased affects the success with which the executor can conclude the affairs of the estate.
The executor needs specific documents of the deceased to speed up the administration process. If certain documents, such as title deeds of fixed property or share certificates, cannot be traced, the executor must obtain duplicate documents at the expense of the estate, which may create a delay.
When a loved one dies, there are usually also costs that need to be paid from the estate funds. The typical costs include: