The estate administration process is governed by the Administration of Estates Act No. 66 of 1965. This process is taken care of by your appointed executor. The administration of a deceased estate requires a thorough knowledge of various laws and regulations, including the Administration of Estates Act; the Wills Act; the Intestate Succession Act; the Estate Duty Act; the Income Tax Act and the Trust Property Control Act, but to name a few. It is evident from the above that you need to nominate a proficient and experienced executor in your last will and testament, preferably a professional deceased estate practitioner.
The administration process could be summarized as follows:
- Report the estate to the Master of the High Court and obtain the letter of authority;
- Take custody of the estate property;
- Provide for the subsistence of the deceased’s family and household;
- Advertise for creditors to lodge claims;
- Open an estate late bank account;
- Determine the solvency of the estate;
- Liquidate the assets to pay the debts, costs and taxes;
- Prepare and lodge to the Master of the High Court the Liquidation and Distribution Account;
- Obtain the Master’s approval for the account;
- Advertise that the account is lying open for inspection;
- After the account has lain for inspection without any objections, pay the creditors;
- Pay the heirs and transfer the bequeathed property to them;
- Pay the estate duty;
- Obtain discharge.
Optima Executors has vast experience in the administration of deceased estates in all its facets, including the taxes. Since the changes in the Income Tax Act on 1 March 2016, we are also offering our specialist taxation service to many other deceased estate practitioners.
We have also developed an application called EstateStatus, where the deceased’s loved ones can monitor the administration process. We believe this to be unique in the industry. By creating a user account, the heirs will be able to follow the progress made during the administration process.