In this article our attorneys in Cape Town discuss in brief, the role of the executor in a deceased estate and what qualities to look for in a potential executor.
When describing the role of an executor to my clients, for simplicity, I reference the fact that the executor ‘steps into the shoes’ of the deceased. However, there is a lot more that an executor must know and do, in accordance with the Law, as briefly discussed below.
The executor will, firstly, be required to administer the assets in the late estate, identify the heirs and eventually distribute the assets to them. If there is cash in the estate, an estate late bank account must be opened and all funds paid into and from the estate must be attended to through this account. An advertisement must be placed in a local newspaper and the Government Gazette, calling on debtors and creditors to lodge their claims with the Executor within 30 days from the date of publication.
The executor will, secondly, be required to draft the Liquidation and Distribution Account, which must reflect, among other things, all the assets, all claims against the estate, how the residue (remainder) will be distributed and whether estate duty (the tax payable to SARS) is payable. At this stage, a second advertisement must be placed in a local newspaper and the Government Gazette, advising interested parties that the Liquidation and Distribution Account is lying for inspection at the Master’s office and anyone who may have an objection to the contents of the account, must lodge such objection with the Master.
The executor, thereafter, will be required to settle the late estate’s debts from the money in the estate, file the necessary tax returns and pay SARS if required, transfer property and/or pay the heirs, close the estate late bank account and attend to the Master’s final requirements.
Therefore, it is extremely beneficial for nominated executors to approach an attorney to assist in the administration of a deceased estate.
As is evident from the above, the winding up of an estate requires knowledge of the applicable laws.
If you state that the executor nominated in your will, will be assisted by an attorney who specialises in the administration of deceased estates, you can nominate your spouse, next of kin, a family member or a friend, with the confidence that they will be assisted in all aspects.
The vital deciding factor is, whether the executor can be trusted to manage the process and best represent the deceased’s interests and make sure that the will is complied with.
Should you want to know more about the administration of estates and the drafting of wills, feel free to contact us or our office on 021 657 6300 to speak to one of our attorneys in Cape Town.
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