The following is an explanation of the administration process of a deceased estate in a nutshell and can differ from estate to estate:


  • The reporting documents required by the Master are forwarded to the relevant office of the Master of the High Court;
  • All institutions where the deceased had an interest are notified;
  • No account can be closed or contracts signed on behalf of the estate;
  • If the deceased was married in community of property, the bank accounts of the surviving spouse will be closed, unless instructions to the contrary is provided by the surviving spouse and the relevant financial institution is informed accordingly;
  • Should the estate receive funds prior to the issuing of the Letters of Executorship, the surviving spouse can receive an advance of his/her inheritance, depending on the overall cash availability in the estate;
  • All mail and accounts still addressed to the deceased, should be forwarded to us;
  • If the surviving spouse has sufficient funds available, he/she should continue paying the monthly electricity and water account, the rates and taxes and the monthly instalments on any interest bearing accounts.


  • An advertisement will be placed in the local newspaper that circulates in the area where the deceased resided and in the Government Gazette;
  • Creditors will have a period of 30 days from the date of the advertisement to lodge their claims against the estate;
  • An interest bearing account will be opened in the name of the estate;
  • Instructions are given for all bank accounts and investments in the name of the deceased to be closed and the balance to be transferred to the estate bank account;
  • If sufficient funds are available in the estate bank account, all creditors/claims against the estate are paid;
  • The process of selling any asset(s), if necessary, are started with now;
  • The Liquidation and Distribution Account must be lodged with the Master of the High Court within 6 months after the Letters of Executorship have been received.


  • Drawing up the Liquidation and Distribution Account is the next step in finalising the estate and is normally completed once all the relevant information and/or documents and/or credit payments requested when the estate was initially reported, have been received;
  • This account reflects all the assets and liabilities in the estate, the cash and liquidity situation, administration costs and shows how the balance will be distributed to the heirs;
  • The values in the account reflect the values as at the date of death and may therefore differ from the values on the latest bank statements;
  • Once this account has been completed, it is forwarded to the Master of the High Court for examination. If the Master is satisfied with the contents of the account, he provides us with the necessary approval;
  • After we have received the necessary approval, a second advertisement is placed in the local newspaper that circulates in the area where the deceased resided and in the Government Gazette;
  • From the date of the advertisement the account will be lying open for inspection for a period of 21 days at the local Magistrate’s Court in whose jurisdiction the deceased resided, as well as the relevant Master’s Office;
  • Any person with an interest in the estate will have 21 days to lodge an objection against the account at the Master of the High Court, should he/she have a reason to do so;
  • Cash will be distributed as soon as the 21 days advertisement period has lapsed, AND we have received the relevant consent from the Master of the High Court, AND no objections against the account have been lodged AND all funds have been received;
  • Sometimes we are not able to distribute all the cash in the estate, due to the fact that certain claims are outstanding, for example from SARS, and certain tasks still need to be completed, for example the transfer of the immovable property, and then we retain an amount to cover any possible costs that may arise in dealing with these matters;
  • The process of transferring any immovable property will be started with as soon as the 21 day advertisement period has lapsed. Transfer of the immovable property can be a long process;
  • As soon as all these matters have been dealt with, the remaining cash will be distributed accordingly and the administration process will be finalised.

The successful completion of the administration of an estate depends a great deal on the co-operation that we receive from the Master of the High Court, various financial and other institutions, SARS and the Local Municipality with which we have to deal with in a particular estate. Should it happen that we do not timeously receive the necessary co-operation from an institution, the administration process may be delayed.



The executor needs as many of the following documents as possible to start with the administration of the estate:

  • Original Will
  • Copy of the Identity Document of the deceased
  • The original Identity Document of the deceased will be required if there is an Income Tax Credit that has to be collected from SARS
  • Copy of the Identity Document of the surviving spouse
  • Death Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Antenuptial Contract
  • Information and/or documents relating to a predeceased spouse
  • Divorce Documents
  • Copies of Identity Documents and Contact Details for all beneficiaries
  • Copies of Birth Certificates for all minors
  • Account and Proof of payment of funeral costs
  • If deceased died of unnatural causes – details of accident, relevant Police Station, name of investigating officer, Post Mortem Report and case number
  • Details of employer and copy of last salary slip
  • Details of Pension Fund
  • Details of Medical Aid
  • Income tax Number
  • VAT Registration Number
  • Title Deed of property
  • Details of any bonds over the property
  • Lease and/or Hire Purchase Contracts
  • Fire Arm Licences
  • Motor Vehicle Registration Documents
  • Details of all bank accounts
  • Details with regards to savings and/or cheque accounts and/or credit cards and/or fixed deposits and/or investments
  • Share Certificates
  • Details of life insurance
  • Details of retirement annuities
  • Details of short term insurance
  • Details of Partnership Agreement and Buy and Sell Agreement
  • Financial statements of business
  • Details of any surety obligations
  • Details of all outstanding accounts (debts)
  • TV License
  • Telephone Accounts
  • Accounts from Municipality and Home Owners Association