What’s the process to wind up the deceased estate of my spouse?

What’s the process to wind up the deceased estate of my spouse?

At Siyatec we receive many queries every day from spouses of people who have passed away. The surviving spouse simply has no idea what to do regarding the deceased estate of their husband or wife. For example, when the wife goes to the bank where her deceased husband use to bank and enquires regarding funds due to her husband – she is coldly told to get Letters of Executorship from the Master. What the bank is trying to tell you is that you cannot deal with any assets of the deceased unless you have been authorized by the Master of the High Court with Letters of Executorship.

Obtaining Letters of Executorship is the first step in quite a lengthy process of finalizing the estate of your deceased spouse. The winding up process considers all the assets and liabilities of the deceased, as well as, the joint marital estate. Last week’s article titled ‘How a surviving spouse inherits from a deceased estate’ discusses the significance of the various marital regimes and what the effect of being married in community of property has on inheritance by the surviving spouse. This article is more about the process involved in winding the deceased estate of your spouse prescribed by the Administration of Deceased Estates Act.

Once Letters of Executorship have been issued by the Master, as the Executor and surviving spouse you can now deal with the estate of your deceased spouse. This means you can open up an estate bank account and request transfer of funds from bank accounts, investments, insurance policies or employment benefits due to your late spouse into the estate bank account. If the value of the estate is over R 250 000.00, the estate will also have to be advertised in the local newspaper and government gazette. This is followed by the drafting and approval of a liquidation and distribution account, which must also be advertised. This is only a simplified version of the process to give an indication of what is required. Due to the extensive process and specialized legal knowledge required to wind-up a deceased estate the Master will require that you are assisted by a legal professional well versed in the winding-up process.

If the estate is below R 250 000.00 you may attempt to wind up the estate yourself as some of the requirements are not as cumbersome as is the case with larger estates. However, the process of simply obtaining Letters of Executorship has proved challenging for many of our clients who eventually decide to make use of our services to obtain the necessary letters. Siyatec fees are the most affordable for estate administration, which is why many wives and husbands of deceased spouses decide to save time and money by utilizing our services.

Should you require assistance with any type of estate, or perhaps you just have a few questions regarding the deceased estate of your husband or wife – contact us – we are happy to help. We are easily accessible on WhatsApp 073 776 7911, phone 021 201 7477 or email wafiq@siyatec.co.za. Our website also has a user-friendly Online Consultation to assist you with getting the process started.


  • Act 66 of 1965.

Author: Wafiq Davids (B SocSci, LL.B.)
Attorney, Notary, Conveyancer and Legal Consultant at Siyatec Executors

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