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Wills FAQ’s

Estates FAQ

A deceased estate comes into existence when a person dies and leaves a document, which is a will or is intended as a will. Such an estate must then be administered and distributed in terms of the deceased’s will or, in the absence of a valid will, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act,1989 (Act 81 of 1989). The procedure that must be followed to administer a deceased estate is prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act, 1965 (Act 66 of 1965), as amended.
The estate must be reported to the master of the High Court in whose area of jurisdiction the deceased was living at the time of his/her death.
The estate of a deceased person must be reported to the Master of the High Court within 14 days of the date of death. The estate is normally reported by the nominated Executor or his agent (i.e. Jan L Jordaan Inc Attorneys). The estate is reported by lodging a completed death notice and other supporting documents with the Master which may be obtained from any Office of the Master of the High Court or on www.justice.gov.za, or contact NGL Attorneys and we will gladly assist you
The reporting documents will differ slightly depending on the value of the estate and the type of appointment required. If the value of the estate exceeds R250 000, letters of executorship must be issued and the full process prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act must be followed. However, if the value of the estate is less than R250 000, the Master of the High Court may dispense with letters of executorship and issue letters of authority in terms of Section 18(3) of the Administration of Estates Act, (Act 66 of 1965).
The following reporting documents are required: 
  • Completed death notice (form J294)
  • Original or certified copy of the death certificate
  • Original or certified copy of a marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • All original wills and codicils or documents intended as such (if any)
  • Next-of-kin affidavit if the deceased did not leave a valid will (form J192)
  • Completed inventory form (form J243)
  • Nominations by the heirs for the appointment of an executor in the case of an intestate estate, or where no executor has been nominated in the wiill, or the nominated executor has died or declines the appointment.
  • Completed acceptance of trust as executor forms in duplicate by the person(s) nominated as executor(s) (form J190) plus a certified copy of the photo page of the executor's ID document. An undertaking and bond of security, unless the nominated executor has been exempted from providing security in the will, or is the parent, spouse or child of the deceased (form J262)
  • Affidavit by the next-of-kin of a deceased person who has died without leaving a valid will, to the effect that the estate has not already been reported to another Master or service point (if applicable)
  • Declaration of subsisting marriages
If you die without leaving a valid will, your estate will devolve in terms of the rules of intestate succession, as stipulated in the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act, 1987 (Act 81 of 1987). For more information on the Intestate Succession Act, please read below. In the event of intestate succession, what happens if the deceased is survived by a spouse or spouses but not by (a) descendant/s? The spouse or spouses will be the sole intestate heirs.
The estate will be divided between the spouse and the descendants in equal shares provided that the spouse inherits a minimum of R250 000, known as a child's share. 
Example of the child’s share in the event of a monogamous marriage: In this case the value of the intestate estate is R1 000 000 The deceased is survived by his spouse and two children. In this case, the spouse and both children will inherit R333 000 each.
The intestate estate will be split into equal parts. One half of the estate is then divided among the descendants related to the deceased through the predeceased mother and the other half among the descendants related to the deceased through the predeceased father.
Only in this instance will the proceeds of the estate devolve on the state.
An illegitimate child can inherit from both blood relations, the same as a legitimate child.
An adopted child will be deemed to be a descendant of his adoptive parent or parents; and not to be a descendant of his natural parent or parents, except in the case of a natural parent who is also the adoptive parent of that child or was, at the time of the adoption, married to the adoptive parent of the child.