Who Is An Executor In The Deceased Estate Process?
Last week we spoke about how even simple administrative tasks such as closing a bank account in the name of a deceased person requires the appointment of an Executor. This week the discussion turns to who and what the Executor is.
The first step in the administration of a deceased estate is to make application to the Master for Letters of Executorship authorising a person to act as the Executor on behalf of the estate. This means that the Executor is the person who has the capacity to sign documents, and legally speaking, can act on behalf of the deceased person. Ultimately, the Executor is responsible for winding up the deceased estate of a parent or spouse. The Executor is usually the spouse or child of the deceased but could have any relation to the deceased. The Executor is nominated in the Will of the deceased or if there is no Will, the close family of the deceased must nominate who the Executor must be.
The Master then requires that the Executor be assisted by an estate professional who understands the process of winding up deceased estates under the Administration of Deceased Estates Act. This professional role is usually fulfilled by attorneys’ firms who charge clients a normal Executor fee calculated at 3.5% of the total value of the estate. If there’s a house registered in the name of the deceased – the fee is quite a substantial amount of money. Siyatec does not charge a fee based on a percentage. Rather, our fee is based on an affordable flat rate.
It is important to point out that the Executor does not become the owner of any of the deceased’s property, nor does the Executor have the power to do with the deceased’s property as they please. The power of the Executor is limited to:
- what is required by the Administration of Deceased Estates Act;
- what is stipulated in the Will of the deceased, if the deceased left a Will; or
- what is required under the Intestate Succession Act; or
- agreed upon by the estate heirs.
We will gladly assist you with the estate of your deceased family member. Contact us if you require any information regarding deceased estates.
Author: Wafiq Davids
(BSoc Sci, LLB, Attorney, Notary, Conveyancer)