Estate Administration

Administrative law regulates the conduct of organs of state, public bodies or other juristic or natural persons exercising public powers and performing public functions. Mostly, the functions so performed constitute decisions of these bodies, normally being an organ of state or other body having certain powers received from empowering legislation.

When decisions are taken unfairly, unreasonably or otherwise unlawfully on one or other basis, the administrative action so performed, should be reviewed by a court of law in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (“PAJA”) or other applicable legislation.

Administration of EstatesWho can report an estate?When to consult an attorney for assistance with administrating an estate?

The administration of one’s estate can be regarded as one of the most important phases of a person’s lifetime as it determines the distribution of the hard work of a person during his or her lifetime. The importance of ensuring that one’s estate is administered in terms of one’s personal wishes and preferences starts with the planning of one’s estate while still alive.

Many people do not regard their estate planning as an important aspect but when one realises that this process, in essence, will determine how an entire lifetime of hard work is distributed the importance comes to light.  The first phase of the administration of an estate is the drafting of a will.

This is to ensure that the winding up of the estate is finalised as quickly and effortlessly as possible and that the preferences and desires of the deceased are adhered to.The process for the winding up of a deceased estate is governed by the Administration of Estate Act ___ of ________. If not understood, this process can become complicated and lengthy. It is therefore advised that nominated executors appoint a competent attorney to act as the executor’s agent and attend to the administration of the estate.

    • WHEN MUST AN ESTATE BE REPORTED?
      An estate must be reported at the Masters offices or Magistrates Court, where applicable, having jurisdiction within 14 days from date of death of the deceased. The jurisdiction is determined by having regard to the deceased’s ordinary place of residence prior to his or her passing away.

 

  • WHAT DOCUMENTATION IS REQUIRED TO REPORT THE ESTATE?
    The documentation required are prescribed in terms of the Administration of Estates Act and must all be in the prescribed form.  These are the following:

    • Inventory
    • Death Certificate
    • Will
    • Marriage certificate
    • Ante nuptial agreement
    • J190-Acceptance of Trust as Executor in duplicate;
    • Executrix(es)/Executor(s) Certified ID Copy;
    • J294-Death Notice;
    • Marriage declaration form;
    • Declaration that estate has not been reported to any other Master’s office;
    • J 238- Letters of Executorship in duplicate

An estate can be reported by any of the following individuals.

  • The surviving spouse or surviving partner (who is registered in terms of a civil union) or in the event that there is no surviving the nearest relative.
  • A person in control of a premises where the death occurs.
  • If the death occurred outside of the republic any person residing within the republic having possession or control of the property.

If an attorney has been nominated in a will as an executor of an estate, a consultation should immediately be scheduled with that attorney. An attorney can also be consulted even though the attorney is not nominated by the deceased to act as an executor. The attorney can be appointed by the nominated executor to act as his or her agent and attend to the administration process.

The advantage of appointing a suitably experienced attorneys to act as agent for the executor is that such an attorney will have the required knowledge and resources to finalise the administration process, which can be very cumbersome and time consuming, in less time.

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