fbpx
 

Navigating the Legal Process after Losing a Loved One: A Guide to Reporting and Administering an Estate

Hammond Pole Attorneys > Hammond Pole Blog  > Navigating the Legal Process after Losing a Loved One: A Guide to Reporting and Administering an Estate

Navigating the Legal Process after Losing a Loved One: A Guide to Reporting and Administering an Estate

What do I do when my loved one has passed away?

 

When a loved one passes away, it is a difficult time in one’s life. In addition to dealing with the emotional turmoil and grief of losing a loved one, a person is left wondering, “what do I do now?”

 

When a person passes away, it is a requirement by law that the person’s death be reported to the Master Office of the High Court. This is in order for the Master’s office to issue a Letter of Executorship or a Letter of Authority to the person nominated per the Last Will and Testament or the nomination form to act on behalf of the estate and administer the estate of the deceased.

 

To determine which Master’s Office the Deceased’s estate must be reported, we look to where the deceased resided. The estate of the deceased needs to be reported within 14 days of the deceased’s death.

 

There are a number of documents that are required to be completed in order to report the death of the Deceased to the Master`s office. These documents are known as the reporting documents. These documents are either completed by the closest next of kin or nominated executor (per the Deceased` Last Will and Testament). These documents are:

 

  1. Nomination Form – This form is commonly only completed in instances where the deceased passed away without leaving a valid Last Will and Testament (Intestate). The closest relatives / next of kin(s) to the deceased complete this form and all jointly nominate one person to be the nominated executor of the deceased’s estate. A list of the names of the relatives / Next of kin(s) must be completed along with their relationship to the deceased, their signature, the date and the signed nomination form.
  2. Death Notice – This is to be completed to advise the Master’s office of all the personal information of the deceased. It includes the address of where the deceased resided for the last 12 months, the deceased’s marital status at the time of their death, to advise whether the deceased had a Last Will and Testament, to advise of any children of the deceased as well as the details of the person signing the reporting documents.
  3. Inventory – The inventory is essentially a list of all the assets currently owned by the deceased. Only the assets of the deceased are listed here, and it is only the assets held by the deceased at the date of death. The inventory form is divided into four sections:
  • Section 1: Complete personal details of the deceased and the person filling out the forms.
  • Section 2: labelled as “1. Immoveable Property” – Under this heading a list of the immovable property registered in the deceased’s name is to completed here. The details required are: the street address as well as the value of the immoveable property, usually obtained from the latest municipal statement. It is important to total the value of the immovable property on the right-hand bottom of the page.
  • Section 3: Labelled “2. Moveable property” – Under this heading a list of the moveable assets possessed by the deceased at the time of death is required, such as vehicles or shares are listed here. The details required are the type of moveable asset and the valuation of the asset.
  • Section 4: Labelled “3. Claims in favour of the Estate” – Under this heading a list of the claims in favour of the estate are required, primarily bank accounts with positive balances. It is important to note that credit cards or loan accounts must be excluded here as it can only the accounts of the deceased with a positive balance that must be completed here.
  1. The Next of Kin Affidavit – This an affidavit and must be completed under oath and commissioned. This document is to be completed to advise the Master’s office about the deceased’s next of kin(s). A next of kin can be understood as the relatives of the deceased. The affidavit organises the relatives into five categories: the first being: the surviving spouse; the second being: the children; the third being: the mother and father of the Deceased; the fourth being, the brothers or sisters; and lastly, the children (if any) of the deceased’s brothers and sisters. This affidavit is particularly important when the deceased did not have a Last Will and Testament (intestate), as it helps the Master’s office determine who will inherit from the deceased’s estate.
  2. The Marital Declaration – This document must be completed under oath and commissioned. Its purpose is to declare the marital status of the deceased at the time of their death to the Master’s office. The declaration should specify the following information: whether the deceased was single and did not enter into any Customary Marriages, whether they were a widow/widower or divorced at the time of their death, whether they were married but did not enter into a customary marriage, whether they were married and did enter into a customary marriage, or if they entered into both a civil and customary marriage. Supporting documentation such as a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Death Certificate of a predeceased spouse, or proof of customary and civil marriage should be provided to confirm the indicated information.
  3. The Reporting Affidavit – This is an affidavit that must be completed under oath and commissioned. Its purpose is to confirm that the deceased’s estate has not been reported to the Master’s Office.
  4. The Undertaking and Acceptance of the Master’s Directions (J155 form) – This form confirms that the nominated person (as stated in the Last Will and Testament or nomination form) agrees to follow the Master’s office instructions for winding up the deceased’s estate. Details of the nominated person need to be supplied. This form is only required if the total value of the deceased’s assets is R250,000.00 or less in value. In such cases, the estate will be wound up according to Section 18(3) of the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965. When an estate is valued at R250,000.00 or less, the Master’s office issues a Letter of Authority and appoints a Master’s Representative.
  5. The Acceptance of Trust Executor (J190 form) – In principle, this form is similar to the J155 in that it is a confirmation by the nominated person (either by the Last Will and Testament of the deceased or the nomination form completed by the relatives) that they will adhere to the directions provided by the Master’s office for the administration of the deceased’s estate. Details of the nominated person need to be supplied. However, it differs in that it is only necessary when the total value of the deceased’s assets exceeds R250,000.00 in value. In such cases, the estate will be managed in accordance with Sections 13 and 14 of the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965. When the estate’s value exceeds R250,000.00, the Master’s office issues a Letter of Executorship, and this particular form must be completed in duplicate.

 

In addition to the aforementioned forms that need to be completed, certain supporting documentation must be submitted to the Master’s office. The required documents include:

 

  1. Certified Copy of the Death Certificate of the Deceased;
  2. Certified copy of the Deceased’s Identity Document / Passport;
  3. Proof of Assets in the name of the deceased, for example the municipal statement of the immovable property;
  4. Certified Copy of the nominated executor’s Identity Document;
  5. Certified copy of either: Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Death Certificate of pre-deceased Spouse, Ante-Nuptial Contract.
  6. If Applicable – Certified copy of the deceased’s spouse’s Identity Document.
  7. If Applicable – Certified copy(ies) of the deceased’s children.
  8. If Applicable – The Original Last Will and Testament needs to be submitted to the Master’s office.

 

Once the above-mentioned reporting documents are completed and the supporting documents are obtained, these documents are submitted to the Master of the High Court in order for the Master’s office to open a file and issue a Letter of Executorship or a Letter of Authority. Once the letter has been issued, the formal process of winding up the deceased’s estate can begin.

 

For more information, contact Hammond Pole attorneys.

ShannonG@hammondpole.co.za

 

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

google amca seni sikerrrrr