Reporting the Estate

The inevitability of death is a very worrying concept for the vast majority of people. The sudden death of a breadwinner, family member or beloved friend causes the abandoned family members to be so emotionally blinded that they find it very difficult to act rationally. Due to the fact that most people do not come into contact with death every day, the average person is blissfully unaware of the multitude of administration that goes with it. Although the support of friends and family brings healing, the loss of a loved one remains a bitter emotional and laborious process. That is why it is extremely important that each person should familiarise him-/herself with the basic steps that must be taken when a loved one passes away. Therefore, to simplify the estate administration process and to prevent you from becoming entangled in heaps of papers and documents, we will be publishing a series of articles for the next few months to explain the process step by step and how we at BVSA Konsult, as executor or agent, can assist you in the administration of a loved one’s estate.The first step in the process begins with the reporting of the estate. When a person dies and leaves any assets the surviving spouse or close family member must report the estate to the Master of the High Court within fourteen (14) days of the date of death. Because estate administration constitutes a very specialised part of the law, it is common practice and advisable for persons nominated as executors in a will (and who do not have experience in the administration of estates) to appoint an agent to act on their behalf.

The most important documents to be submitted to the Master of the High Court are as follows:

  • Original will of the deceased
  • ID copies of deceased and executor
  • Death certificate
  • Death notice
  • Inventory
  • Acceptance of executorship
  • Marriage certificate
  • Antenuptial contract

The total value of the deceased’s assets on date of death will determine whether the executor or agent should apply to the Master of the High Court for the issuance of a section 18(3) authorisation letter (assets below R250,000) or a letter of executorship (assets above R250,000). The issuing of a section 18(3) authorisation letter or letter of executorship may take anything from four to eight weeks. Once the Master has issued either of the letters, the executor and/or agent has authority to stand in the shoes of the deceased and to connect all the wires to complete the estate administration process. Thus it is very important to be patient when the estate administration process commence.

To conclude our first step in the estate administration process, we thought it would be of significant value to attach a basic schematic representation after each article in our series that will serve as an illustration of where we are in the process. In addition, this schematic illustration can be used to easily lead you through the process and the basic steps that need to be followed when a loved one passes away.

Estate Administration

Step 1: Reporting the Estate

Time scale: 4-8 weeks

Our fiduciary team at Boshoff Visser Konsult has decades of experience in estate administration and is professionally equipped to assist you with any matters related to or in connection therewith.

Please contact one of our expert advisors for further information.

The above-mentioned is for information purposes only and is in no way advice. Boshoff Visser Konsult (Pty) Ltd. encourages readers to get in touch with an expert financial advisor before making any decisions.

Article written by Reghardt Draper

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