Administration of Deceased Estate (Winding up)
Why need Attorney to administer the estate?
For simple reasons, there is a lot of administration and legal compliance in the administration of deceased’ estate, to mention few, duty to notify all creditors to the estate by way of publication on the newspapers and government gazette, drafting of the Liquidation and Distribution Account ‘L&D’, advertisement of the L&D accounts, meetings with the Masters and heirs and etc. before the wealth may be distributed.
An appointed executor will under normal circumstances seeks services of an estate administrators to assume responsibilities imposed to the executor in terms of the act and ensure accountability for all the transactions involved during administration.
Appointment of the Executor
In practice, if there is no testamentary appointed Executor, the preference is always given to the surviving spouse of the deceased, and where there is no surviving spouse or surviving spouse does not desire to hold the office of the Executor, the family being descendants of the deceased will jointly appoint the executor.
Who are Estate Administrators ‘agents’
Agents are mostly practising attorneys enrolled with the Law Society of South Africa functioning from the law firms or persons recognised and registered with the Fiduciary Institution of South Africa.
The mentioned institutions are there to ensure that the agents keep accountability for the services they render during the administration of the deceased estate.
Duties of Estate Administrators /Executors
The Estate Administrators runs the estate with the instructions of the Executor which among others includes: –
- To report the estate and lodge the documents with the Masters of the High Court;
- To advertise the estate under the provision of section 29 of the Estate Administration Act; This advert is compulsory. The referred advert is made to invite the creditors and any other person (e.g. illegitimate children) having interest to the deceased’s estate to lodge their claims to the Executor or Agent (whichever applicable) of the executor in the estate] for purposes of settlements.
- To investigate the assets of the deceased. Investigation of the deceased assets includes investigate any underlying investments, life cover policies and insurance identifying all the accounts the deceased had at the time of death.
- To validate liabilities of the deceased to the beneficiaries and propose payment arrangements pending finalization of the estate;
- To draft Liquidation and Distribution account and present same to the Master of the High Court;
- To advertise the Liquidation and Distribution Account under the provision of section 35(5) for a period of 21 days prior the distributions.
- To pay liabilities and inheritance to the rightful heirs.
- T J Attorneys Inc. will assist with all the administrations and procedures to be followed until the final stage of distributions.
T J Attorneys Inc. will ensure that immediately upon report of the estate, late estate account is opened for administration of all the monies of the deceased including underlying investments, savings and policies will be paid directly into the estate account unless where there is a beneficiary nominee.
Should there also be income after death, the proceeds/profit belong to the deceased will be paid directly from the business accounts to the estate account.
Common questions frequently asked.
Can an illegitimate or non-marital child lodge claim against the estate?
When dealing with estate, there is no longer difference between legitimate and non-legitimate child. They both have equal right to inherit to their natural parents.
Same goes to the adoptive children, their rights remain same as rights of biological children. So long there is enough provable evidence in terms of Customary Intestate Succession Act or Intestate Succession Act.
What if the person dies without children and without a will?
The estate of the deceased will be distributed among the parents of the deceased. Where the parents are deceased or one is deceased, the share will be distributed equally among the siblings.
How is a death benefit paid to a minor child?
In the absence of a testamatory trust, the money belong to the child will be deposited into the guardian fund invested on behalf of the child until when such child attain the majority age then the money will be released on claim.