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When Ellen’s* brother passed, no one in the family knew what to do with his estate. How do you go about it? What does the ‘administration of an estate’ mean? What is an ‘executor’? Scorpion discusses how to deal with estates, and what you need to do.
A ‘letter of authority’ is a document issued by the Master of the High Court regarding the appointment of a competent person to administer the estate or wind up the estate. A deceased person’s estate consists of all his/her assets (like a house or car) and liabilities (like debts) at the time of their death. The administration of the estate is the process during which the liabilities are settled and the expenses paid, with the residue (what’s left of the assets) being distributed to the heirs according to the will (if there is a valid will) or according to the law of intestate succession if there is no valid will.
A deceased’s estate should be reported to the offices of the Master of the High Court by the surviving spouse or a close relative of the deceased within 14 days of the person’s passing. The person responsible for the administration of the estate is called the executor. An executor is the person appointed by the Master of the High Court through letters of executorship to administer the estate of the deceased. His role is to protect your assets, settle your debts, identify your heirs and distribute your assets according to your will.
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* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. Names have been changed to protect identity.
Date added: 16 July 2019
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