• The Deceased’s Estate must be reported in the jurisdiction where he/she lived at the time of death;
  • The Executors duties arise as soon as the Master of the High Court issues them with a Letter of Executorship and will only terminate should he/she dies or where the Master or the Court relieves them;
  • The Executor must meet with the family of the deceased and get certain documentation such as the Death Certificate, a list of assets and liabilities and a Marriage Certificate or Antenuptial Contract if the deceased was married in community of property;
  • A notice must go out to the creditors to inform them of the deceased’s death and allow them the chance to institute claims against the estate. This notice is published in the Government Gazette and the local newspaper where the deceased lived at the time of death;
  • All bank accounts that are open at the time of death are closed and the funds are transferred into a separate bank account called an estate late bank account;
  • Thereafter a Liquidation and Distribution account needs to be drafted to discover who gets paid, who gets what assets and which liabilities are outstanding. This needs to be advertised and once approved by the master creditors needs to be paid and assets distributed. This has to be done six months after the date of appointment;
  • Proof of distribution needs to be lodged with the master after which the master will issue you with a filing notice from which you will be relieved from your duties.

Nobody likes to think about the fact that they will one day die. It is a horrible visual but what about those who are left behind? This article will discuss the duties of the executor and how they help those through that process.


During your life you acquire assets for example houses, cars, shares, etc. and you also acquire liabilities such as loans, debts, etc. These assets and liabilities form part of your estate, and when you die this estate needs to be administered, divided and distributed. These processes are all done by one person in control of the estate known as the executor.


The executor’s first step would be to meet the family and gather as much information and missing documents that they don’t have and reconcile the deceased’s will in which the executor in Testate Succession will be nominated.


The second step is that the estate must be reported to the Master of the High Court’s office in which the deceased lived. http://www.justice.gov.za/master/contacts.htm.


The executor must then place a notice to the creditors informing them of the deceased’s death. This notice will be placed in the Government Gazette and the local newspaper in the area the deceased had lived. This gives creditors the opportunity to institute claims within 30 days after the notice was published.


The executor will then close all of the current bank accounts open at the time of the deceased’s death. He/she will then open up a separate account strictly used for the administration of the estate.


The drafting of accounts must be done and advertised in the same manner as the notice to creditors which is then lodged for approval at the Master of the High Court where the death was reported.


After the accounts have been approved by the master, the executor will pay all the creditors and distribute what’s left of the estate to the beneficiaries accordingly.


The Master of the High Court can help the family of the deceased on the process, however, it is usually advisable that a qualified attorney and/or deceased estate paralegal helps the family. One can approach Pro Bono.org where they will be helped for free.


It is not advisable that a family member is left as the executor of an estate of their loved one. This is burdensome especially if it is not your area of expertise. Contact us and we will help you today. Call us on 031 003 0630 or email us at Charmaine@schwenninc.co.za.

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