Administration of estates: First steps

When it comes to the administration of deceased estates, the first steps, if done thoroughly and thoughtfully, can make the rest of the process much more efficient. Especially, as fast cannot be guaranteed due to third parties involved.

With the process being intricate with quite a number of steps, we will break them down and work through them systematically. 

The initial steps we will focus on are the opening of the main file, the first interview with relatives and reporting the estate.

  1. Opening the main file

An organized file is undoubtedly one of the administrator’s strongest tools. Finding what you are looking for efficiently expedites the process immensely. To that end, three subfiles are created within the main file. These subfiles are organized according to documents, finances and correspondence. Once the file is opened the next step can be attended to namely the first interview with the relatives.

  1. First interview with relatives

The first interview with relatives is a crucial step in the administration process. Here one deals with persons who are oftentimes still in a grieving process and tact is of paramount importance. A display of compassion and expertise will go a long way in bringing peace of mind to the relatives.

The main goal of the interview is to gather essential information and obtain essential signatures. The administrator must obtain information regarding estate assets and liabilities. Documents that need to be signed at the interview, will be the death notice, inventory and acceptance of trust as executor.

The interview also represents an opportunity for the administrator to obtain essential documentation such as the original will, death certificate, identity document of the deceased, policies, investment certificates, marriage certificates and so forth.

Once all the relevant documents are signed the Administrator can move to the following step which is the reporting of the estate to the Master of the High Court.

  1. Reporting the estate

Reporting the estate to the Master of the High Court is the administrator’s first official step in the administration process. The administrator will need to hand the following documents to the master:

  • Death notice
  • Inventory
  • Original will
  • Deceased’s ID (original/certified)
  • Acceptance of trust as executor
  • Death certificate (original/certified)
  • Marriage certificate (original/certified)
  • Next of kin affidavit (J192)
  • Nominations for appointment of executor, if applicable
  • Security (J262), if applicable
  • Person applying to be executor’s ID (certified)

In our follow-up blog we will review the next phase of the process in detail.  These steps will elaborate on what happens after the estate has been reported.

If you are dealing with the loss of a family member and need guidance and legal support, do not hesitate to contact Burden Swart & Botha Attorneys. Let us help you work through the sometimes complicated process and give you time to grieve and spend time with your family.