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Deceased estates

An estate includes everything you own (real property or personal property) as well as any liabilities. If you are married in community of property, you and your spouse each own half of an undivided joint estate. It cannot be separated. If you have a Will you can direct how your assets are to be distributed among particular beneficiaries.

Deceased estate services
  • Administration of deceased estates as nominated executor / co-executor.
  • Drafting of Wills
  • Administration of deceased estates as agent for the executor.
  • General information and advice to beneficiaries and creditors regarding their interests.
deceased estate
Administration of deceased estates
The administration of a deceased estate is the process of distributing the deceased's assets and paying the debts. The process must comply with the procedures prescribed in the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965.

Estate process
  1. Upon death of a loved one
    1. To report the estate to Legatus Trust, the family must attend to the following:
      1. Obtain death certificate.
      2. Establish whether a Will exists and contact the nominated executor / company.
    2. Once the above is completed.
      1. Provide full details of all assets, liabilities, etc., as well as the supporting documents to the executor / company.
  1. Report estate to the Master’s Office
    1. Nominated executor to establish:
      1. Is there a valid Will?
      2. Who are the beneficiaries in terms of the Will/Law of Intestate Succession where there is no Will?
      3. What are the assets and liabilities?
    2. Necessary reporting documents will be completed.
  1. Legatus Trust to arrange for executor’s appointment
    1. Necessary documents are submitted to the Master of the High Court, who will appoint the executor, where after the executor can proceed with the administration of the estate.
    2. Depending on the Master’s Office, there may be a delay in obtaining the Letters of Executorship/Authority. Once obtained, letters are sent to known debtors and creditors.
  1. Advertisement for debtors & creditors
    1. An advertisement must be placed in the Government Gazette and local newspaper, giving debtors and creditors 30 days to lodge any claims they might have against the estate.
  1. Interim administration process
    1. Executor must satisfy himself that the estate is solvent.
    2. Deal with assets.
    3. Pay creditors with proven claims.
    4. Submit final tax return.
  1. Liquidation and distribution account
    1. The liquidation and distribution account (L&D Account) will reflect all the estate assets, liabilities, beneficiaries, as well as income and expenditure after date of death (if applicable).
    2. Advertisements are placed in the Government Gazette and local newspaper, giving notice that the liquidation and distribution account will lie for inspection for 21 days.
    3. The account can be reviewed and objections lodged with the Master of the High Court.
  1. Estate distribution
    1. Provide a cash statement.
    2. Inheritance or portion thereof is paid to heir.
    3. Assets are distributed and transferred.
    4. Obtain Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) from SARS.
    5. Finalize estate.
  1. Close the file
    1. Request Master of the High Court for a Filing Notice.

Click here for the Estate Formalities brochure
Click here for a summary of The Estate Process

Reporting an estate to Legatus Trust

Please see our List of documents and information required when reporting an estate.

  1. Complete/Request forms
    • Download the forms directly from our website, click here.
    • Request documents by sending an e-mail to Please include information such as:
      • Is there a Will?
      • If so, is Legatus Trust nominated as executor?
      • Does the gross value of the assets in the estate exceed R250,000?
    • If someone other than Legatus Trust is nominated as executor according to the Will, Legatus Trust will act as agent for the executor under a Power of Attorney signed by the executor. In a case where there is no Will, a spouse, child or parent can be nominated as the executor and Legatus will act as the agent.

It is of utmost importance that the forms be completed correctly and in full in order to prevent any delays in the administration of the estate. Click here for instructions on how to complete the forms.

WHERE LEGATUS TRUST IS THE NOMINATED EXECUTOR, the following documents need to be completed:
  1. Estate Reporting Form
  2. List of Documents and Information required
  3. Death Notice, Form J294
  4. Inventory, Form J243
  5. Affidavit Cause of Death
  6. Marriage Declaration
  7. Affidavit Master’s Office–Beneficiary
  8. List of Creditors
  9. Insurance Indemnity
  10. Next-of-Kin Affidavit, Form J192
  11. Beneficiary Questionnaire & Affidavit

WHERE LEGATUS TRUST IS NOT THE NOMINATED EXECUTOR, the following additional documents need to be completed by the nominated executor, if:

  • a natural person (family member, friend, etc.) has been nominated as executor; or
  • the Will does not nominate a specific executor; or
  • the nominated executor has died or has declined the appointment; or
  • it is an intestate estate.
  1. Acceptance of Trust as Executor - Form J190

    An estate with a gross value exceeding R 250 000.00.


  2. Undertaking and Acceptance of Master's Directions - Form J155

    An estate with a gross value of R 250,000.00 or less.


  3. Power of Attorney
  4. Mandate
  5. Affidavit Master's Office (to replace document No 7 above)
  6. Nomination to act as executor (to be completed by all the heirs)

Documents A-F will be provided on request when applicable.

Contact Legatus Trust

  • Contact us on 0861 722 626; or
  • Send an e-mail with the required forms and documents to Please remember to include the name of the estate in the subject line; or
  • Send a fax with the required forms and documents to 0861 115 704; or
  • Post the required forms and documents, preferably via registered mail, to Legatus Trust, P.O. Box 17, Pinegowrie, 2123; or
  • If you are in our area, make an appointment and come to our offices to report the estate. Please contact us.

PLEASE NOTE:  In case of reporting via e-mail or fax, the original documents and original signed forms still need to be delivered to the relevant office (see contact page for addresses) or posted, preferably via registered mail, to the relevant office (see contact page for addresses)- as the estate cannot be reported to the Master of the High Court without it.

If you have any other questions, complete our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

The death of any person who dies within the Republic of South Africa leaving any property, or any document being or purporting to be a Will, must be reported. The death of any person who dies outside the Republic of South Africa but leaves within the Republic any property or any document being or purporting to be a Will, must be reported. The death of a person is reported by completing and signing a death notice. It is important that the death is reported to the Master of the High Court within 14 days of the date of death.

The surviving spouse or if there is no surviving spouse, the nearest relative or connection residing in the district in which the death has taken place, must report the estate.
Funds will only be available once the executor is sure that the estate is solvent, with the provision that there are funds in the estate banking account.
The executor’s fee is 3.5% of the gross value of the assets in the estate plus VAT thereon. The current rate is set by Regulation 8(1)(b) in terms of Section 103 of the Administration of Estates Act, 1965 as amended. Executor fees are negotiable depending on the value of the estate.
The average time to wind up an estate is plus minus one year. However, every estate is unique with unique circumstances that would determine the time span for finalisation.
The money will be deposited into the Guardian’s Fund on behalf of such an heir.
The heirs (family in case of no Will) can nominate a new executor or Master’s Representative. Only a spouse, child or parent is exempt from furnishing security for the appointment as executor. Anyone other than these persons mentioned will have to furnish security. A trust company such as Legatus Trust can act as agent for the nominated executor. Legatus Trust can also be nominated if there is no one else to take the appointment.


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