Winding up Deceased Estates

The job of an executor is not for the faint-hearted.

If you have you been nominated as an executor of an estate you should be flattered: The deceased clearly held you in high regard.

However, if you are also feeling a bit daunted – that’s understandable. An executor holds a position of enormous responsibility.

In your role as executor you will have to take control of all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities. You will also be faced with a series of very personal and important decisions and responsibilities. For example, you may have to:

  • Make arrangements for the deceased’s dependants’ maintenance requirements pending finalization of the estate.
  • Communicate with the deceased’s staff and employees, and possibly make provision for their retrenchment.
  • Take control of a business while the estate is being wound up.
  • Rehome pets.
  • Decide (in conjunction with the heirs) whether assets in the estate will need to realized (sold), and if so how best to do this.
  • Divide up personal effects and memorabilia between family members and friends.
  • The list goes on……


It’s a big job, and is administratively and emotionally intense. It requires not only knowledge of the law and the various administrative processes, but also sensitivity and professionalism to ensure that the process is as smooth and efficient as possible for those left behind.

The process is unquestionably made easier if the deceased has left detailed instructions for his or her executor – but even then, it remains a daunting task to take on. Let me help you.

As part of my services, I will:

Report the death to the Master of the High Court (lodging all necessary forms, the death certificate, the original will etc.).
Collect the Letters of Executorship when they are issued.
Prepare a Special Power of Attorney, empowering us to administer the estate on behalf of the duly appointed executor.
Advertise the deceased estate as required by the Administration of Estates Act.
Open an estate late bank account for the deceased estate.
Prepare the liquidation and distribution account of the estate (identifying all assets and liabilities).
Register the deceased estate as a tax payer, as required by SARS.
Liaise with SARS and ensure that all the deceased’s tax affairs have been properly settled.
Correspond with the Master of the High Court, the Executor, family members, heirs, affected parties and third parties to ensure the smooth administration of the estate.