What is a deceased estate and how should it be reported?

When a family member passes away the law is often the last thing you want to be thinking about. However, when a person dies and leaves property and a will, there are certain important steps to take to ensure that their possessions can be passed on in the right way.

Deceased estates can become an admin conundrum, but at Libertine Consultants we go out of our way to make new laws understandable for our clients. Take a look below to learn more about deceased estates in South Africa and how it should be reported:

date: 17/02/2021Author:


It has to be reported within 14 days

The estate of a deceased person must be reported to the Master of the High Court within 14 days of the date of death. The Master of the High Court has offices in all major cities in South Africa. There is also a helpline on (012) 315 1207, and queries can be emailed to chiefmaster@justice.gov.za

You won’t be able to access inheritance funds right away

The estate of the deceased person is frozen at death, and once this happens no-one can withdraw funds from their bank accounts or deal with any of the assets within the estate without permission from the Master of the High Court. If you are married in community of property this can cause some financial issues for the spouse left behind, and couples should plan accordingly.

There are certain documents you will need to report a deceased estate

This includes: Original or certified copy of the death certificate Original or certified copy of the marriage certificate/decree of divorce (if any) Original will Completed death notice Completed next-of-kin affidavit Completed inventory showing all the assets of the deceased Nominations by all the beneficiaries for the appointment of an executor and a certified copy of the executor's ID Declaration of existing marriage List of creditors Acceptance of trust as executor/Master's Representative (in duplicate), together with a certified copy of the ID of such applicant

Read more about the various documents you will need here.

Without a will the estate will be declared intestate

Any person of 16 years and over is free to make a will in order to determine how his/her estate should devolve upon his/her death. If a person dies without a will, the estate will devolve in terms of the rules of intestate succession. Read more about that here.

You can contact us if you have any further questions

South African law has various other intricacies when it comes to deceased estates. If you still have questions that have not been answered in this article, we recommend that you get in touch with a member of the Libertine Consultants team. We are experienced in handling these matters and will be able to provide you with good advice.

Best of all - if you contact us before the end of February 2021, you can get FREE legal advice on deceased estates via WhatsApp videocall, Zoom or Google Meets, or take advantage of R300 off all or our credit clearance services.

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