Deceased Estates and Wills


Deceased Estates

A deceased estate is created when a person passes away. At the time of death, the deceased's estate is frozen. The deceased's estate is also frozen if they were married in community of property, and no one may access the estate's bank accounts or manage its assets without the permission of the Master of the High Court. Upon death, the estate of a deceased person must be notified to the Master of the High Court within 14 days. Anyone in control or possession of the deceased's property or will can report the death by filing a completed death notice with the Master. Typically, a will appoints an executor of the estate to carry out these duties as well as the directives outlined in the will. Upon death, a person is either testate (with a valid will) or intestate (without a valid will). Either the Will or the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987, must be followed in administering and distributing the estate.


In a will, you state how assets are to be distributed and how your family are to be cared for after you die. If you die without a will, your desires may not be carried out. In addition, your heirs may spend more time, money, and emotional energy to settle your affairs after your death. Every adult over the age of 16 may create a will unless he or she is mentally incapable at the time. It is prudent to reevaluate our financial situations frequently and after significant life events, such as the birth of a child, a divorce, the start of a new marriage, or the purchase of a second immovable property. The role and responsibilities of an executor of a will are not simple, and the executor should preferably be a person or institution with experience and expertise in administering deceased estates. It is also possible to appoint a competent executor alongside a surviving spouse or a close relative such as a parent or child. Please contact one of our attorneys at Lowe & Petersen Attorneys to obtain the best understanding and assistance with drafting a will.


1How long does a deceased estate take to prepare?
Our attorneys at Lowe & Petersen Attorneys will draft a deceased estate as soon as you need it, but it can take up to 13 months to administer.
2Who can prepare a deceased estate?
One of our attorneys at Lowe & Petersen Attorneys can draft up the perfect deceased estate for your needs.
3Can a will be challenged?
A will can be contested if it meets the criteria of being invalid, if there is an inadequate provision or if forgery or undue influence is suspected.

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