A Letter of Executorship is a legal document that certifies you have been chosen by the court to oversee a decedent’s estate. It is valid for 12 months in South Africa, meaning that the deceased estates and assets have to be settled by then. The deceased death has to be reported to the Master’s office at the High Court, for the Letter of Executorship, which will then take up to 6 – 8 weeks to be issued and handed over to the nominated executor. The executor is in charge of managing the deceased’s money, property and assets and also responsible for passing over the deceased’s inheritance in accordance with their will. The following article will go into detail in explaining how long a Letter of Executorship is valid for in South Africa and how long it takes to get the Letter of Executorship.

How long is a Letter of Executorship valid?

How long is a letter of executorship valid for in South Africa-sandton-johannesburg-capetown-durban-2023The Letter of Executorship is valid for 12 months in South Africa as stated above, its period of validity is usually stated on the document. It should be mentioned if the validity is shorter or longer than a period of 12 months. Within those 12 months, the nominated executor must finalise the deceased’s estates according to their will or according to the Intestate Succession Act if the deceased died without a will. Below are the steps which the executor must take to wind up the deceased estate.

Step 1: Report the death to the master of the high court

The death is reported to the master of the high court, where various documents are submitted, such as the death certificate, marriage certificate, death notice form, etc. All the documents and forms are reviewed and the Letter of Executorship is then issued. This process takes about 6 to 8 weeks.

Step 2: Preparatory work for the compilation of the Liquidation and Distribution account

A Liquidation and Distribution account is set up. The purpose of this account is to set out all liabilities, assets, and administration costs. It extrapolates the distribution of assets to the heirs in accordance with the stipulations of the will or the Intestate Succession Act in the absence of a will, and it also determines whether or not Estate Duty is due. Setting up this account can take up to six months, but this is all dependent on the complexity and size of the Estate.

Step 3: Investigation of the Liquidation and Distribution account by the Master

After setting up the Liquidation and Distribution account, it is then examined by the Master of the High Court. During this process, everything is checked and validated. The master may require the executor to provide them with more information or proof, which may help with the inspection process, which takes about 4 to 8 weeks.

Step 4: Liquidation and Distribution account inspection period

How long is a letter of executorship valid for in South Africa-sandton-capetown-durban-pretoria-johannesburgThe Account must be advertised in accordance with Section 35(5)(a) of the Administration of Estates Act and stand open for examination for a period of at least 21 days after the Master is satisfied that the Account has been accurately drawn. During the 21 days, interested parties are welcome to come and inspect the account, they are allowed to object if they are not satisfied with the account. The finalisation of the estate can then continue if no objections are raised.

Step 5: Finalisation of the estate

The Master of the High Court is then notified that the inheritance has been distributed among the heirs, that the creditors have all been paid up and that the fixed property has also been transferred. Once the Master is satisfied with everything, the executor’s job is then completed and the estate is declared as finalised. This takes about 4 to 8 weeks. 

Afrikaans Translation services

Afrikaans Translation is a certified translation agency, with proficient native Afrikaans speakers, who will help you translate your Letter of Executorship, will or any other legal document you may need to be translated. We are here to help you translate into a language that your family members understand so that it’ll be easier for them to comprehend what is being said when your will is being read. We offer high-quality translators who never disappoint and are familiar with the legal jargon often used in legal documents. For more information regarding our translation services, please contact us on the following numbers  081 347 6060 or 012 348 3134 our friendly staff will assist you in whatever way possible. You can also email us at info@afrikaanstranslation.co.za or visit our website at www.afrikaanstranslation.co.za    

How long is a letter of executorship valid for in South Africa?
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How long is a letter of executorship valid for in South Africa?
A Letter of Executorship is a legal document that attests the court has appointed you as the person in charge of managing a decedent's estate. In South Africa, it is valid for a year, thus the assets and estates of the deceased must be settled by then.
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Afrikaans Translation
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