Benaters | Boutique Law Firm in Johannesburg

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We answer 5 common questions about the administration of Deceased Estates

You’ve worked hard to accumulate your wealth and provide for your family. To make sure your wealth and assets are managed to properly provide for your family in the event of your death, it’s imperative that you have an experienced attorney draft an estate plan that suits your individual needs and protects your assets.

There are certain legal processes to follow, which we can discuss in more detail in consultation, but here we address a few common questions that people often ask either when planning their estate or understanding the administration of the Deceased Estate.

How do you administer a deceased estate?

The best way to ensure that after your death your assets are distributed according to your wishes and instructions is to draw up a will and appoint an Executor to deal with your assets. Where a person dies without leaving a valid will, the estate will devolve in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act.

As experts in the administration of a deceased estates, we can assist with the legal aspects involved to ensure the estate is managed properly.

We will:

  • advise you on any potential problem which may arise;

  • deal with any legal issues that might be encountered;

  • ensure that your will is drawn in accordance with your instructions, and

  • ensure that your will has been properly executed and is valid and binding in terms of the Wills Act.

What is the role of an Estate Executor?

The appointed Executor is responsible for:

  • collecting the deceased’s assets;

  • settling his/her liabilities;

  • distributing the balance of the estate to the heirs in terms of the will of the deceased, or in

  • accordance with the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act where the deceased died without a will.

When must a deceased estate be reported?

Within 14 days from the date of death to the Master of the High Court closest to where the person lived.

If I have assets in a foreign country should I have a separate will for each country?

Because legal administration and regulation differs from country to country you should have a separate will for each country where you have assets.

Can the family of the deceased be provided for while waiting for the estate to be finalised?

With proper authority and permission, the Executor may release funds or property in order for the deceased’s family or household to be sustained. Provided the estate is solvent, i.e. there are funds available, the Executor can also provide advances to heirs in accordance with the will.

The legal aspects of estate planning and the administration of a deceased estate may seem daunting, but with the assistance of qualified legal expertise it needn’t be. In the long run it is also far more cost effective to ensure you are assisted by reputable attorneys to avoid unnecessary fees and loss of capital or assets.