UNDERSTANDING DECEASED ESTATES

The death of a loved one can be an emotionally challenging time and often comes with stressful legal and financial concerns that many feel powerless to handle. Winding up a deceased estate is a complicated and lengthy task. However, the assistance of a professional with the knowledge and expertise to help can ease the burden.

A deceased estate comprises the movable and immovable assets of the individual at the time of their death. Administering the deceased estate ensures that ownership is transferred from the deceased to the named beneficiaries as set out in the deceased’s last will and testament.

At death, the deceased estate is frozen, and no one may withdraw funds from the deceased’s bank accounts or deal with any of the estate assets without the necessary permission from the Master of the High Court.

THE ORIGIN OF A DECEASED ESTATE

A deceased estate comes into existence when a person dies, leaving property whether the deceased has a will or not. The estate now needs to be administered by a person known as an executor (usually nominated in terms of a will) and distributed to the beneficiaries in terms of the will of the intestate heirs if the deceased left no will.

REPORTING THE DECEASED ESTATE

The deceased estate of a South African resident must be reported to the Master of the High Court in whose area of jurisdiction the deceased was living during the 12 months before their death.

The deceased estate must be reported within 14 days of the date of death by any person who has control of the deceased person’s will. The deceased estate needs to be reported through submitting a completed death notice and other reporting documents to the Master.

INTESTATE SUCCESSION

Individuals older than 16 years are encouraged to make a will to determine how their estate should devolve upon their death. When you die without a will, your estate will devolve in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, 1987 (Act 81 of 1987). The deceased estate will be divided among the surviving spouse, children, parents or siblings according to a set formula in such an event.

THE ADVICE YOU NEED

If you need more information about or assistance with deceased estates, get in touch with Simpson Incorporated today. Simpson Incorporated can help you wind up a deceased estate with our professional services by working closely with you and the Master’s office to ensure this is done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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