The Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 (the Act) regulates the administration of deceased estates in South Africa.Primarily two types of deceased estates exist, the one being testate and the other intestate. A testate estate is a estate where the deceased left a will which disposes of his or her property. Intestate means that the deceased the not leave a will behind and therefore the distribution of the deceased assets estate will devolve according to the Intestate Succession Act, 1987 (Act 81 of 1987). This means that your estate will be divided amongst your surviving spouse, children, parents or siblings according to the guidelines set down in the act.  


The Administration Process Explained

Date of death

Preliminary Interview

Application for appointment as executor

Advertise for creditors

liquidation and distribution account

Advertise liquidation and distribution account for inspection

Distribution of estate

Sign off by master of High Court

Family have to:

Obtain death certificate

Establish whether a will exists 

Put the deceased’s papers and documentation in order 

Nominated executor must establish:

Whether a will  exists 

 • Who potential beneficiaries are 

 • An idea of the assets and liabilities in the estate 

 • The nominated executor will assist family to complete the necessary documentation .

The master of the High Court must formally appoint the executor and grant him the necessary powers to administer the state 

The length of time this process takes is dependent on the masters office although every effort is taken to avoid unnecessary delays

• Government Gazette 

 • Local paper 

 • Creditors have 30 days to lodge any claim 

• Details of assets and liabilities obtained 

 • Submit final tax return 

 • Account shows a snapshot of all assets and liabilities the anticipated inheritance and beneficiaries as well as income and expenditure items arising after date of death

• Government Gazette and local paper 

 • Lies for inspection for a period of 21 days 

 • Possible objections are lodged with the master 

 • You have a final opportunity to review the account before it is finally approved .

• Obtained release from receiver of revenue 

 • Pay creditors 

 • Prepare cash statement 

 • Distribute assets 

 • Transfer fixed property 

 • Inheritance to you is finalised

• Executor provides the High Court with proof creditors have been paid and assets distributed 

 • The state finalised and duties of executor are discharged