What Are Letters Of Executorship?
Executorship Letters: Issuance and Requirements
In South Africa, when a person passes away, their estate must be administered and distributed according to the law. One crucial step in this process is obtaining Letters of Executorship. These letters are issued by the Master of the High Court and grant the nominated executor the legal authority to manage and distribute the deceased’s estate. The executor is then required to follow the full administration procedure, which includes reporting the estate to the Master, collecting and valuing assets, paying off debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Letters of Executorship and the estate administration process in South Africa. If the estate’s gross value exceeds R250,000, the Master of the High Court will issue Letters of Executorship. However, if the estate’s value is less than R250,000, the Master will issue Letters of Authority, also known as ’18(3) estates.’ The latter follows a simpler procedure for winding up the estate. To report the estate to the Master, the executor must submit several documents, including a Death Notice (Form J294), a certified copy of the Death Certificate, an Inventory (Form J243) detailing the deceased’s assets and liabilities, the original will (if applicable), nominations by heirs for an executor’s appointment, Undertaking and Acceptance of Master’s direction x2 (Form J155), a Next of Kin Affidavit (Form J192), and certified copies of the nominated Executor’s ID, the deceased’s ID, the Marriage Certificate, and the surviving spouse’s ID. Navigating the estate administration process can be complex and time-consuming. Siyatec Executors offer Estate Administration Services and Legal Consultation for Executors to assist with this crucial task, ensuring the deceased’s estate is managed and distributed according to South African law.
The nominated executor must report the deceased estate to the Master of the High Court. If the estate has a gross value of more than R250 000.00 the Master will issue Letters of Executorship. The executor is then required to follow the full administration procedure which will be discussed in upcoming articles.
If the estate has a value less than R250 000.00 the Master will issue Letters of Authority. This is also known as “18(3) estates”. “18(3) estates” follow a simpler procedure for winding up the estate.
Documents required in order to Reporting the Estate to the Master:
- Death Notice (Form J294) – To be completed and signed by a surviving spouse or close relative of the deceased. This form provides information about the deceased and his estate.
- Certified Copy of Death Certificate – As proof of death
- Inventory (Form J243) – A list of all assets and liabilities belonging to the deceased.
- Original will- ( if the Deceased left any wills)
- Nominations by the heirs for the appointment of an executor in the case where the deceased left no will or where no executor has been nominated in the will, or where the nominated executor declines the appointment
- Undertaking and Acceptance of Masters direction x2 (Form J155) – to be completed and signed by the executor appointed by the Master.
- Next of Kin Affidavit (Form J192) – to be completed and signed by the executor where the deceased did not leave a valid will.
- Certified copy of nominated Executor ID
- Certified copy of ID of deceased
- Certified copy of Marriage Certificate
- Certified copy of ID of surviving spouse
Author: Waseemah Doutie (LL.B.)
Attorney and Legal Consultant at Siyatec Executors