Deceased Estates Cape Town


Coming to terms with the death of a family member or dear friend is a difficult and traumatic process. The reality is that dealing with the emotional trauma surrounding death is unfortunately not the only challenge that many people face. Once the funeral is done and the mourning process has begun someone has to take responsibility for making sure that the deceased's affairs are put in order. This process, called the 'Winding up of a Deceased Estate' involves making sure that the last will and testament of the deceased is honoured. This typically means that immovable and moveable property is transferred to the new owners and that other income like pensions, investments and the like are distributed to the correct beneficiaries. For many this is a daunting process filled with bureaucratic red tape and pit falls. Luckily RFJ Yeowart Attorneys offers the solution.


At RFJ Yeowart Attorneys we specialise in management and winding up of Deceased Estates. In fact our entire business is geared towards doing just that, as well as other ancillary services that form part of the greater process. Where other attorneys spend their time on litigation, contract or family law, we specialise in Deceased Estates. We therefore know the process intimately, enabling us to make sure that the process runs as smoothly as possible. We know how the Master of the High Court works, what is required, what you can and cannot do and what forms need to be filled in at which stage of the process. It is not uncommon for Deceased Estates to take more than a year to wind up, especially in cases where the Master of the High Court does not quickly appoint the Executor of the estate. Can you afford to wait that long?


The process

To wind up an estate an executor needs to be appointed by the Master of the High Court. Without the Letters of Executorship you will not be able to access the estate's assets. It is our experience that no one will help you without this document. At RFJ Yeowart Attorneys we arrange for the appointment of the executor (see below), notifying and paying the creditors, transferring moveable and immovable assets into the beneficiaries names as well as preparing the liquidation and distribution account (a report that is required by the Master of the High Court), advertising it (a legal requirement) and finalising the estate, together with all statutory formalities.

Appointing the executor of the estate

Before you can be appointed as an executor we must first determine the nature of the deceased estate. Where the combined value of all the immovable assets such as property or moveable assets such as vehicles, furniture, jewellery or liquid assets such as cash, investments, pensions, shares etc are less than R250 000 (as from 24 November 2014), Letters of Authority are required from the Master of the High Court to proceed with winding up of the estate. Where the value of the total assets exceed R250 000, Letters of Executorships are required to proceed.

What to do if the assets are less than R250 000?

If the total assets are less than R250 000 you will need Letters of Authority from the Master of the High Court to wind up the estate. RFJ Yeowart Attorneys can advise on what to do, but we do not take the appointment nor do the application on your behalf. You are welcome to contact us for a consultation where we can advise you on the best course of action. However, please note that there will be a consultation fee charged.

What to do if the assets are more than R250 000?

If the assets are more than R250 000, you will need Letters of Executorship from the Master of the High Court to proceed. You will need an initial consultation with us to establish what will be required to wind up the estate. At that consultation we will discuss the fees to be charged. Should you decide not to appoint us to wind up the estate, a consultation fee will be charged. When winding up an estate worth more than R250 000, the Master of the High Court requires more detailed information and reporting to take place, which is best handled by a specialist such as ourselves.  

What you will need to provide us?

In both cases above, you will need to have the following:

  • Identity document of the deceased
  • Marriage certificate of the deceased
  • Ante nuptial contracts, where applicable
  • The original Last will and Testament
  • Firearms licences if any
  • Location of any safe custody boxes
  • Divorce Order (and Consent Paper) if any
  • Income Tax reference number and certificates of valuation for Capital Gains Tax purposes
  • Title Deeds (Deed of Transfer) relating to fixed property, Mortgage Bond Account Number, together with details of insurances covering such property and its contents.
  • Statements relative to the share portfolios the deceased had
  • Certificates relating to Shares in Private Companies (and public companies should they exist) as well as member’s interests in Close Corporations (or Statements from your STRATE Agent).
  • Account Numbers relating to monies held in Current Accounts, Savings Accounts, Call Accounts, Money Market Accounts, Fixed Deposits and Unit Trust Investments at Banks or other Financial Institutions.
  • Details of all Life Insurance Policies, Annuity Contracts; Pensions (including overseas Pensions) and Funeral Policies.
  •  Motor Vehicle Registration and Licence papers (including boats, caravans and trailers) and Motor Vehicle Insurances.
  •  The latest Balance Sheet of any Trust or Business or Partnership (and the Partnership Agreement) in which you have an interest.
  •  Medical Aid Society name and Membership Number.
  •  Details of anything else you consider to be an asset.
  •  The last few Bank Statements and Credit Card Statements are also very useful

The more information you have the more it will expedite the process. Contact us to today to make an appointment for a consultation.