Estate Administration FAQ
- Does the value of the estate make a difference in the administration process?
- What happens if I get stuck and don’t know how to proceed?
- What do I do if the estate is less than R125 000?
- There is no will – what now?
Our guide is for a deceased estate that is greater than R125 000 and includes the forms and requirements necessary to perform your duties as administrator.
Gather all the information you can regarding assets in the deceased estate, add them up to determine the total gross value.
Decide what you want to do:
* Do I want to save money and do it myself?
* Do I appoint an institution (bank, attorneys, etc) to do it for me (costing substantially more of course)?
If you decide to tackle it yourself you need to check the content of the will and determine how complex it is. For a straightforward will where the assets are left to either a spouse or child, or split between heirs (children or others) it is possible for a capable person to handle the administration. Where things can get tricky are if there is a trust involved or foreign investments or anything unusual. The guide does not cover all possible situations so in these cases you might want to enlist the services of an attorney to get clarification.
Standard fees for administering an estate are 3.5% of the gross value of the estate, plus VAT. This amounts to approximately 4% of the gross value, which can amount to a large sum of money. Negotiate an hourly fee or a fixed fee (covering for example a total of 10hrs of consultation).
The following reporting documents are required (these forms are available online at www.justice.gov.za/master/forms.html):
- Completed death notice (form J294)
- Original or certified copy of the death certificate
- Original or certified copy of a marriage certificate (if applicable)
- All original wills and codicils or documents intended as such (if any)
- Next-of-kin affidavit if the deceased did not leave a valid will (form J192)
- Completed inventory form (form J243)
- List of creditors of deceased (if applicable)
- Nominations by the heirs for the appointment of a Master’s representative in the case of an intestate estate or where no executor has been nominated in the will or the nominated executor declines the appointment.
- Undertaking and acceptance of Master’s directions (form J155)
- Declaration confirming that the estate has not already been reported to another Master’s Office or service point of the Master
It is up to the Master to determine whether the requested person will be appointed Executor. If there are minors involved, the process becomes more complicated.