Nobody likes admin.

For many reasons… Mainly, it can be a drag – and a reminder that there are bills to be paid.

Nobody likes admin.

Death is not a topic that anybody wants to discuss in any setting, and this is often why the conversation around the admin of it all is postponed… until it’s too late.

We understand this. 

It’s important to note that dealing with thousands of estates has not desensitised us to how emotionally draining this process can be. Our estate administration process aims to remove this factor from the equation by ensuring that your estate is wound up efficiently and that you are indemnified from the excessive costs at death, in order to secure your family’s financial future.

But let’s take a few steps back to figure out what an estate is, and why it’s important to have enough funds to cover the costs of estate administration.

Estates 101

If you have property, deemed property or debt, or assets of any kind, you will have what is termed a “deceased estate” when you pass away. 

deceased estate comes into existence when a person dies and leaves property or a will. The estate must then be administered and distributed in terms of the deceased’s last will and testament.

At death, the estate of the deceased person is frozen, and no one may withdraw funds from the deceased’s bank accounts or deal with any of the estate assets without the necessary permission from the Master of the High Court.

The person who is appointed to oversee the estate administration process or has been assigned the duties of administrator of an estate is known as the executor. An executor is appointed by the Master of the High Court in terms of the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965.

The timeline?

That depends on the complexity as well as the number and different types of assets there are in the estate. 

The process is as follows:

  • The executor must place an advertisement in the Government Gazette and another newspaper, alerting all parties concerned of the person’s passing. 
  • Thirty days after the advertisements have appeared, the liquidation and distribution (L&D) account must be submitted to the Master’s Office for approval. Once the Master’s Office has approved the L&D account, it must also be advertised in the Government Gazette and a local newspaper.
  • The L&D account must be accessible for inspection for at least 21 days.
  • During this period, late claims can be brought against the estate, if there are creditors who still need to be paid.
  • Before the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will, the executor must pay the debts and liabilities owed by the estate. If the process runs smoothly, the estate can be distributed 30 days after the advertisement of the L&D account.
  • A deceased estate can be wound up in under 12 months, but this process may take longer, depending on the complexity of the estate and possible delays. We aim to wind up estates in the least time possible, and have found that on average, estates that we administer take in the region of 12 to 24 months. 

When are beneficiaries paid?

Beneficiaries are paid their share, as per the will, when the debt on the estate has been paid. The debt is paid before the inheritance is distributed. This is only after the L&D account has lain open for inspection without objection. 

Keeping up with the industry

We’ve just released an article in support of the Master’s Office’s new online system that’s currently in the trial phase. This aids our goal to ensure that these estates are wound up as efficiently as possible. 

Capital Legacy supports this innovative project and was even part of the trial.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development notes that online registrations will speed up the registration process and ensure quicker availability of the details/particulars of the beneficiaries and trustees. In theory, this should have a ripple effect and assist with speeding up the overall time taken to settle deceased estates.

This reinforces our aim to get estates wound up as quickly and efficiently as possible, for your family’s peace of mind.

Why use Capital Legacy to wind up your estate?

As professional estate administrators, if we are appointed as the executor of an estate, we go to the Master’s offices countrywide on a daily basis to check on the progress of all the estates we administer. Our designated Masters’ liaisons or correspondents go to the examiners at the Master’s offices, who print out and supply them with a query sheet on each estate that Capital Legacy handles.

Capital Legacy then supplies the additional information and its Masters’ liaisons provide the examiner with the necessary information.

We literally go the extra mile for our clients.

For more information on our estate administration services, visit our website at or speak to your financial advisor.

Whether you’re in need of a will, life insurance, education cover,
or the power of all three, we have got you covered.