The legal steps to take when someone dies

By June 21, 2017Articles

Death is not pleasant to think about, but it is a certainty. So you should prepare for the event properly in order to save your loved ones from extra turmoil during their time of bereavement.

When someone dies the first official thing that happens is that a death certificate should be issued. According to Ruann Kruger from Kruger & Co Incorporated, the deceased person’s family should approach the Master of the High Court in order to complete the necessary forms to appoint an executor or curator.

“The forms consist of a summary of the deceased person’s assets and liabilities, details of the last will and testament, and who the heirs or beneficiaries of the deceased person is,” he says. “Once the Master of the High Court is in possession of all the required forms, the original will and supporting documents, the Master will appoint the Executor as the curator of the deceased estate in terms of a Letter of Authority. “It is very important that loved ones know where the most recent will is kept, to prevent any confusion or delays,” he says.

“The executor ensures that all outstanding debts of the deceased person is paid after all life insurance policies and other assets has been realized, and the funds paid are into the deceased estate’s bank account.” In short this person is responsible for making sure the deceased’s last wishes are implemented underlying to the law.

An executor can be a family member, friend or even a lawyer or bank. “The Executor is normally nominated in the deceased person’s Will, but can also be nominated by the heirs or beneficiaries,” says Kruger. “It should be someone who will be able to handle these affairs effectively and transparently. “The executor will receive remuneration of 3% of the total estate.”

One of the first things the executor does is to open a bank account in the name of the estate. “The Executor will then initiate the administration process like selling or distributing assets between nominated beneficiaries, settling debts, and prepare a liquidation and distribution account for the approval of the Master of the High Court.”

When there is no will the estate is automatically divided between the spouse (50%) and children (50%) of the deceased, but still managed by die executor.

Kruger & Co offer advice and consultation to bereaved family members and loved ones. Should this painful event occur, please contact us.