South African Government

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What is a deceased estate and how should it be reported?

A deceased estate comes into existence when a person dies and leaves property or a will. Such an estate must then be administered and distributed in terms of the deceased’s will or, if there is no valid will, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act (Act 81 of 1987) [PDF].

The estate of a deceased person must be reported to the Master of the High Court within 14 days of the date of death. Any person that has control or possession of any property or a will of the deceased, can report the death by lodging a completed death notice with the Master. An executor of the estate is normally nominated in the will to do this as well as carry out the directives you set out in your will.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has more frequently asked questions on deceased estates.

The Master of the High Court has offices in all major cities in South Africa.

Master of the High Court help line:
Tel: 012 315 1207
E-mail: chiefmaster@justice.gov.za