The executor and the deceased estate
As a starting point, it is important to note that, when a person passes away their assets are frozen. No person has access to the assets of a deceased person until an executor is appointed. The executor is the person authorized by the Master of the High Court in terms of Letters of Executorship to act on behalf of the estate and to wind up the deceased estate. This person is usually the spouse, child, or the parent of the deceased.
As far as the executor’s appointment is concerned, there are two ways an executor can be appointed; either in terms of the Last Will and Testament, or nominated by the family. As an executor, there are certain tasks that need to be carried out. The executor is ultimately responsible for winding up the deceased estate. This means that the executor is responsible for the process involved in dealing with the deceased estate from the start until the estate is finally distributed to the heirs.
The executor needs to conduct interviews with the relatives of the deceased, obtain signatures and important documents, in order to deal with the estate. The executor is responsible for keeping the family or relatives up to date with the process. The executor is responsible for proper administration of the deceased estate, but should appoint an attorney, to administer the estate on the executor’s behalf. The reason for this is that the process is complicated and the Master will not authorize an unqualified executor unless an attorney is appointed.
The executor is entitled to remuneration prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act No. 66 of 1965 Section 51 (1). The executor’s remuneration is an expense to be paid by the estate. The prescribed tariff is on the gross value of the assets calculated at 3,5%. At Siyatec we charge an affordable flat rate fee and not the prescribed tariff.
Author: Megan Maggott
Consultant at Siyatec Executors