HOW TO REPORT A DECEASED ESTATE?
Upon the death of a person, the estate must be reported by an interested party to Master’s Office in which jurisdiction the deceased normally lived, within 14 days.
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.
However, if the value of the estate is less than R250 000, the Master of the High Court may dispense with letters of executorship and issue letters of authority in terms of Section 18(3) of the Administration of Estates Act, (Act 66 of 1965).
The Magistrates’ Office service points will only have jurisdiction if the deceased did not leave a valid will and the gross value of the estate is less than R125 000 where there is no PEAS ( Paperless Estates Administration System).
Letters of authority entitle the nominated representative to administer the estate without following the full procedure set out in the Administration of Estates Act.
What documents will be required in the event of the value of the
estate exceeding R250 000?
Reporting documents where the value of the estate is less than R250 000
The above-mentioned reporting documents must be posted to, or handed in at the Master's Office. Faxed reporting documents are not acceptable.
* Update to Master’s fees in deceased estates and curatorships: Administration of Estates Act: Regulations: Amendment(English/Afrikaans) GG 41224, GoN 1161, 3 Nov 2017
If the above documents have been completed correctly and lodged with the Master/Magistrate (whatever the case may be):
PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF A CUSTOMARY UNION OR
ALLEDGED SAME-SEX PARTNERSHIP
Proof of marriage or an alleged permanent same-sex life partnership must be lodged in all instances where such relationship is indicated in the death notice; except in instances where the surviving spouse or same-sex life partner is an heir in terms of a valid will. The following documents constitute acceptable proof:
(a) An original or certified copy of the Marriage certificate must be lodged where a civil marriage in terms of the Marriage Act, or a marriage or civil partnership in terms of the Civil Union Act, or a customary marriage duly registered in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act is indicated.
(b) In the case of customary marriages registered after the death of one of the parties, proof of registration issued by the Department of Home Affairs may be accepted as an alternative to a marriage certificate.
(c) Where proof of registration of a customary marriage cannot be lodged, and such proof is required only for purposes of succession, and provided there is no dispute regarding the existence of the customary marriage, a family meeting can be convened by the Master to confirm the existence of the alleged customary marriage.
d) Where the deceased was a husband in more than one customary marriage, any of which was entered into after 15 November 2000, a copy of the contract which regulates the matrimonial property system of the marriages, duly approved by court, in terms of section 7(6) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act must be lodged.
(e) If the deceased was married in terms of religious rites without compliance with the Marriages Act (Muslim and Hindu marriages) proof of the marriage from the Muslim Judicial Council or similar religious body or person who performed such marriage, must be lodged.
(f) Where a permanent same-sex life partnership is alleged in the death notice, and the estate is to devolve intestate, an affidavit (form MBU 19) must be lodged as confirmation of the alleged partnership.
The Service Point of the Master can assist with further advice in this regard. When a certificate of registration cannot be lodged, please contact the Master’s Office further guidance with regards to the available remedies. The abovementioned reporting documents must be posted to, or handed in at the Master’s Office or service point.
The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola is scheduled to officially launch the Masters’ Deceased Estate Online Registration System on 10 October 2023. The Minister was be supported by Deputy Minister John Jeffery and Director General Adv. Doc Mashabane.
You can access the Masters’ Deceased Estate Online Registration System via this link: dojonline.justice.gov.za
The system has gone live at the Master of the High Court offices in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria and Thohoyandou.
Support or enquiries can be emailed to DojDEOnlineSupport@justice.gov.za.
The Office of the Chief Master has worked with stakeholders to run successful pilots where the functionality and ease of use of the system were thoroughly tested. The pilots were conducted in March, April and August. The system is now ready to be rolled out to the Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria and Thohoyandou Masters’ offices. It will further be gradually rolled out in a progressive manner to other parts of the country.
Several non-governmental institutions partnered with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development of the piloting of the on-line system, including the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) and the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA).
ADVANTAGES OF THE DECEASED ESTATE ONLIN REGISTRATION SYSTEM
Yilungelo Lakho I Master of the High Court's Deceased Estate Online Registration System, SABC News, 25 Oct 2023.
Simphiwe Ncongwane and guests: Adv Kanyane Mathibe, Office of the Master of the High Court and Jabu Hlatshwayo from the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development discuss the Master of the High Court's deceased estate online registration system.
Bid to reduce deceased estate turnaround time, Newzroom Afrika, 8 Oct 2023
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola will launch the Master's Office deceased estate online registration system this week. Chief Director Adv. Kanyane Mathibe says this will reduce the long turnaround time of getting the letter of executorship.