Finalisation process of a deceased estate

Simplified explanation of the finalisation proses of a deceased estate:
The death of a family member is in itself a traumatic experience and at Werner Roos & Immelman attorneys we would like to make the proses as seamless and swift as possible to enable the family to find closure as soon as is permitted.

Very important is a copy of the form BI 1663 that the family must get from the undertaker, doctor or the hospital where the form was completedas soon as possible and must be handed in at The Department of Internal Affairswho will then issue a death certificate. The cause of death will be stated on the death certificate. Make a couple of copies of the death certificate as well as the deceased’s Identification book (ID book) as it will be needed with the arrangement of the funeral and various administrationsthat has to be updated, informed and or changed. The death certificate will also be needed when executing life insurance policies.

At Werner Roos & Immelman attorneys we usually advice that a consultation meeting be arranged only after the funeral has taken place unless some extremely urgent matter takes precedence.

With the first consultation the whole finalisation process of a deceased estate is explained to the family. Notification documents needed for the Master of the High Court is the death notice form J294 that must be completed and handed in. Other forms to be submitted will be: nomination as executor of estate (J155), acceptance as executor (J190), certified copies of surviving spouse and the deceased identity documents as well as marriage certificate, affidavit and particulars of next of kin and declaration of subsisting marriages (J192), an affidavit that the death has not been reported elsewhere. Very important also is the valid original will with any or all codicils as well as an inventory of assets Form J243.

The proses is sped up and made easier if the executor is nominated in the will. Delays can be caused in the finalisation process of the deceased’s estate if no will was left or if no-one was nominated as executioner of the deceased’s estate. A specific person must then be nominated as executor of the deceased estate and it may happen that The Master of the High Court would then require security of said executor which will incur extra costs. The first step would then be to acquire a letter of executorship of the deceased’s estate from The Master of the High Court orthe undertaking and acceptance of Master’s directions (Form J155).

Once the letter of executorship has been received, a notice must be published in all relevant newspapers in the district where the deceased has lived. A notice to all debtors and creditors is also placed in the Government gazette. All persons wanting to claim against the deceased’s estate must enter into correspondence with the executor of the deceased’s estate within 30 days of the last publishing date.

Once this has been done, all assets and liabilities with balances must be established as on the date of the death of the deceased. Appraisals and valuations must be donein some instances as required by the Administration of Estates Act 1965 (as amended). A concept liquidation and distribution account is drafted in accordance with said above mentioned act. This is then discussed with all family members concerned where it is finalised and handed in at The Master of the High Court for approval.

In certain cases it is approved immediately and in other cases their might be standard questions raised by The Master of the High Court for answering,clarification and or explanation.

Once all the requirements of The Master of the High Court have been met and theliquidation and distribution accounthas been approved, the executor may proceed in publishing the approved liquidation and distribution accountin the local newspapers and Government gazette in case of any objections.

If no-one has come forth with any objections, the estate may be finalised. All funds will then be paid out according to the liquidation and distribution account as well as transfers of assets whether it is movable assets or immovable property. Once proof has been delivered to The Master of the High Court that all payments and transfers has been finalised according to the liquidation and distribution account a request may be lodged for release (discharge) of the estate.