At first instance the Executor may appoint an agent to act on his behalf. Most often this is the case when the Executor is the surviving spouse or child with little or no knowledge of deceased estate administration. The agent may only act accordingly to the Power of Attorney granted to him or her. However, the Executor remains the sole responsible party.

Directly after the Letters of Executorship is received, the Executor must take custody of all things, books and documents which is not in the possession of someone according to a contract/lien or execution. When an amount of R 1,000.00 is reached the Executor must open an estate cheque account in the name of the estate with a bank within the Republic and all moneys received must be paid into that account. An advertisement must be published in the government gazette and local newspaper where the deceased ordinarily resided. The goal of this advertisement is to give notice to all the creditors and debtors of the deceased.

The Executor has to pay all the creditors and collect the debt due to the deceased estate. Depending on the facts, the Executor may sell assets (immovable and movable). The Executor also has certain obligations with regards to weapons and ammunition owned by the deceased. In certain instances, heirs may enter into a redistribution agreement, whereby they decide how the deceased’s assets will be distributed.

The Executor has to lodge a Liquidation and Distribution Account, with the Master of the High Court, within 6 months after the date of Letters of Executorship. In some cases, an extension may be awarded by the Master of the High Court. After the Master of the High Court accepts the aforesaid Account, then the Executor has to advertise the Account in the government gazette and local newspaper. The goal of this advertisement is to provide creditors with the opportunity to object to the Account. If the Account has lain without objection the Executor may distribute the assets accordingly. The Executor then has to provide the Master of the High Court with proof that the heirs and creditors have been paid and that all the property has been transferred.

If you intend to appoint someone as an Executor or if you are appointed, keep in mind the responsibilities, duties and obligations attached to the title. It is advised that a professional deals with the administration of a deceased estates. Should you enquire detailed advice or information about any matter regarding deceased estates, kindly contact any legal professional at Haasbroek & Boezaart Inc. Attorneys.

By Natalie Mulvaney