Contact the executors of the deceased’s estate

What is an ‘executor’?

An executor is the legal term for the person/ people/institution who are nominated in a Will to carry out the wishes of the deceased. It could be a trusted individual (friend or family member) or a financial institution.

If no executor was nominated, the court will then appoint an executor to take care of the estate.

It is the responsibility of the executor to:

  1. Represent your estate
  2. Disburse your property to the mentioned beneficiaries
  3. Calculate and pay the estate tax
  4. Ensure that the correct documentation is filed with the relevant authorities
  5. Collect and arrange payments
  6. Approve or disapprove creditors’ claims
  7. Obtain information on potential beneficiaries.

What is an ‘estate’?

An estate is the total of your assets (everything you own) minus your liabilities (everything you owe). An estate can be made up of fixed assets (house) and moveable property (car), investments, cash in the bank, an unpaid salary and shares in a business.

On average an uncomplicated estate takes 9 to 12 months to wind up.

Costs typically payable when winding up an estate:

  1. Advertising costs
  2. Conveyance fees
  3. Rates and taxes
  4. Master’s fees
  5. Taxes
  6. Debts (e.g. bond, overdraft, credit cards, store cards)
  7. Medical costs
  8. Maintenance and accrual claims
  9. Funeral costs
  10. Executor’s fees

These fees are paid out of your estate. If there aren’t enough funds in your estate to cover the costs, your executor may have to sell your assets or ask your beneficiaries to pay the costs.

In some cases, the surviving spouse would need funds for living expenses. They can approach the executor to help make the funds available. This is always a difficult time, as it can sometimes take months to wind up a deceased estate.