What are the legal fees at death?

Many people make the mistake of thinking a funeral policy is sufficient to cover the costs of passing away. The bad news is that it is not nearly enough.

What are the legal fees at death?

Many people make the mistake of thinking a funeral policy is sufficient to cover the costs of passing away.

The bad news is that it is not nearly enough.

The good news is that with a Legacy Protection Plan™ from Capital Legacy, all your legal costs associated to death can be covered.

Before looking at the “fine print” of the cost of dying, there are two main points you should determine:
1. If your Estate is solvent and
2. If there is enough liquidity in your Estate to settle it.
The reason being, that an Estate may be solvent, but not liquid enough to pay for all the legal and other fees required to wind up your Estate. It may then happen that the Executor must sell some of the assets to cover the legal costs.


To determine if your Estate is solvent, you must deduct your liabilities from your assets. If the total of your assets is more than your liabilities, then your Estate is solvent.


An Estate is liquid if there is enough money available to pay for the legal costs associated with dying. If there is not enough money to cover your legal costs, your Estate is illiquid and the Executor of your Estate may have to sell some of your assets to pay for the winding up of your Estate.




This is the industry standard fee charged by the Executor or assisting professional to wind up your Estate. A maximum of 3.5% + VAT of the value of your Estate will be charged. An Estate worth R3 Million will pay, for example, approximately R120 750 in fees. In terms of South African Law, Executors may charge 3,5% (plus VAT) of the gross Estate and 6% (plus VAT) of any income into the Estate after death.


This is the fee charged by the Conveyancing Attorney when property needs to be transferred. Fees are calculated on a sliding scale depending on the value of your house as determined by an assessor. A home worth R1 850 000 being transferred to a Beneficiary could cost the Estate R30 544 in fees.


This is the fee charged by the Trustees to administer the Trust you create in terms of your Will, normally to look after the money you leave to your minor Children. On average, 1.15% of the net asset value is charged to establish the Trust, and 1.6% is charged annually for the ongoing administration of the Trust. The total cost of a Trust with R1.5 million in assets over 15 years would be R377 250. Please bear in mind that when you have a Legacy Protection Plan™ with Capital Legacy, all these fees are covered by the plan.


The fees paid to the Master of the High Court regarding their fulfilment of their role in the administration of your Estate. The fee is calculated on the worth of your Estate and is capped at R7 000.


These are the fees associated with corresponding with the Master of the High Court. It could be for documents, duplicates of documents, stamps, and postage. There is no fixed amount, but usually it is not significant.


One of the requirements to transfer a property is obtaining a clearance certificate from the city council or municipality. This will be issued only if the rates and taxes are paid in advance. Some areas require up to 6 months paid in advance.


Two advertisements must be placed in a local newspaper and the Government Gazette. The costs can vary between R1 000 and R1 500 depending on the publication selected.


Banks generally charge in the region of R600 and upwards to open an Estate late bank account.


If your Executor is required to cancel a bond over the fixed property, the Estate will have to pay the bond cancellation costs. Bond cancellation attorneys must be appointed through the bank that issued the bond. Costs to cancel the bond range around the R5 000 mark but can be higher depending on the lender.


The Executor of your Estate may need to use professionals to assist with the winding up of your Estate, the cost of which will have to be paid by the Estate. An example is if you are married with the accrual system. In such a case the Executor might have to make use of an accountant to determine the accrual.


Any costs incurred in maintaining an asset will have to be borne by the Estate. Examples are for gardening services to maintain gardens, plumbers, or electricians if a house is one of the assets.


Not only will all outstanding taxes have to be paid from the Estate before it may be finalised, but the Executor will have to determine whether Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or Estate Duty is payable at death. The first R3,5 million in Estate Duties are exempt from tax.


Bills such as medical aid, school fees, car insurance, water, lights, rates, etc. still need to be paid even though bank accounts are frozen. Even though these are not legal fees related to winding up the estate, it is prudent to make provision for these costs to ensure your family’s lives are not completely disrupted.


There are many more costs that escalates yearly such as the costs for arranging the funeral, catering, and travel.

These fees eat away at the legacy you plan to leave behind. Do not burden your family. Protect your legacy. Contact Capital Legacy and get covered now!

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