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Steps to Winding up an Estate in South Africa

31 Aug 2022

Report the death to home affairs

Find The Will

Register the Deceased Estate

Executor to arrange preliminary meeting with family

Executor to Master for Letters of Executorship

Open a Bank Account

Report the estate to SARS

Gather the Documents Required

Advertise The Estate

Prepare liquidation and distribution account

Lodge the L&D account with the Master

Advertise L&D account

Get a Release from Sars

Pay Creditors

Pay Heirs and Beneficiaries

Apply to Master for discharge of duties

  1. The first step is to report the death to home affairs
    • Home affairs will then issue a death certificate.
    • The funeral parlour can also report the death on your behalf
    • Errors that occur on the death certificate will result in delays in the process and it is therefore essential to ensure details are correct
  2. Find the will
    • The will provides details of who was appointed as the executor to their estate
  3. Register the deceased estate
    • A J94 death notice must be submitted by the executor to the Master
    • The death notice must be completed by the deceased’s spouse or nearest blood relative and submitted within 14 days of the death.
  4. Executor to arrange preliminary meeting with family
    • The purpose of the meeting is to check the will, establish who has been nominated as the beneficiaries and prepare an inventory of the deceased’s assets and liabilities.
  5. Executor to Master for Letters of Executorship
    • The executor will need to apply to the Master of the High Court to be officially appointed as the executor.
    • The Master must ensure the will is valid and, in the cases where the estate is valued at more than R250 000, Letters of Executorship will be issued to confirm the executors mandate.
    • For estates valued less than R250 000 the Master can give directions of how the estate should be wound up and an executor is not needed.
  6. Open bank account
    • If the estate has a cash value of more than R1 000, the executor is required to open a bank account in the name of the deceased and deposit the cash into that account
  7. Report the estate to SARS
    • The deceased estate must be reported to SARS to ensure that all tax liabilities are brought up to date.
  8. Documents required
    • Death Notice
    • Death Certificate
    • ID document
    • Certified copies of all beneficiaries of the will
    • Original signed will
    • Marriage certificates
    • Antenuptial contracts
    • Birth certificate
    • Divorce orders
    • Maintenance agreements
  9. Advertise the estate
    • The estate must be advertised in order for creditors to register their claims.
    • In order to do this, a Section 29 advert must be placed in the government gazette and the local newspaper.
    • Once the advert is published, creditors have 30 days to lodge their claims against the estate
  10. Prepare liquidation and distribution account
    • After the 30-day period the executor must prepare a liquidation and distribution (L&D) account within 6 months.
    • The L&D account must include a list of all assets and liabilities of the deceased estate, beneficiaries and the incomes and expenditures of the deceased estate.
  11. Lodge the L&D account with the Master
    • The Master has 15 days in which to lodge queries after which, the Master will give permission for the L&D account to be advertised
  12. Advertise L&D account
    • A Section 35 advert must be placed in the government gazette announcing that the L&D account will lie open for inspection at the Magistrate’s Court for a period of 21 days.
    • If no objections arise, the Magistrate will issue a certificate of no objection which means that the executor can distribute the estate
  13. Release from Sars
  14. Pay creditors
    • All liabilities must be paid off before the estate is allowed to be distributed.
    • The executor is allowed to charge a prescribed fee of no more than 3.5% of the gross value of the estate, excluding VAT.
    • The executor is entitled to 6% of any other income e.g. dividends, rent, interest
  15. Pay heirs and beneficiaries
    • Once all the liabilities have been settled, the remaining assets can be distributed either by way of transfer or by realising the assets and paying out the proceeds.
  16. Apply to Master for discharge of duties
    • The executor can then apply to the Master for a discharge of responsibilities as the executor and the Master will issue a filing slip and a discharge certificate.

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Bayswater Capital is a well-established niche player in the financial services sector. We have a strong focus on personal relationships coupled with insightful strategies that enables us to help clients make the best financial decisions around investments to protect their wealth in the long term.

We hope to build long-lasting relationships with our clients that can add value to them across all facets of their financial lives.

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