This division of the Master's office supervises the administration of deceased estates. The purpose is to ensure an orderly winding up of the financial affairs of the deceased, and the protection of the financial interests of the heirs.
The origin of a deceased estate
A deceased estate comes into existence when a person dies leaving property or a document which is a will or purports to be a will. Such estate must then be administered and distributed in terms of the deceased's will or failing a valid will, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987. The procedure which must be followed to administer a deceased estate is prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act, 66 of 1965 (as amended).
To which Master must the estate be reported?
One must distinguish between those instances where the deceased was resident within the Republic and those where he or she was not resident within the Republic.
The following estates will be transferred to the Master's Office, namely:
Therefore it is advisable to report these estates directly to the Master's office. Follow this link to view the relevant forms relating to estates.
When and by whom must estates be reported?
The estate of a deceased person must be reported to the Master within 14 days from date of death.
The death is to be reported by any person having control or possession of any property or document being or purporting to be a will, of the deceased. The estate is reported by lodging a completed Death Notice (afr or eng) with the Master. The Death Notice and other reporting documents may be obtained from any Office of the Master of the High Court or Magistrate's Office.
How to report a deceased estate
The reporting documents will differ slightly depending on the value of the estate and the type of appointment required. If the value of the estate exceeds R250 000, letters of executorship must be issued and the full process prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act must be followed...more
Why you need an appraiser?
When property has to be valued in a deceased estate, it is normally done by an appraiser.
Appraisers are appointed for specific areas by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in terms of section 6 of the Administration of Estates Act no. 66 of 1965. Appraisers are entitled to a reasonable remuneration which is determined by a prescribed tariff of fees. When there is a dispute regarding the correctness of the remuneration charged, the appraisers account must be submitted to the Master for taxation.
A will is a specialized document, which should preferably be drawn up by an expert like an attorney, trust company etc. The information is merely to inform the user of this site about some basic aspects of wills.
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 you die without a will, your estate will devolve in terms of the rules of intestate succession (your assets will, contrary to general belief, not go to the state).