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Death, like taxes, they say, is inevitable (for all of us.)
When it does happen we hope we go to Heaven; but what happens down here on Earth in our absence.

Besides the fact that we will be missed; the family and friends we had during our lifetime have to carry on without us.

One of the aspects of Deceased Estate Law is the proper formal reporting of a Deceased Estate.

A deceased estate is reported to the Master of the High Court’s office in the area where the deceased resided.

At every High Court in the country there is a Masters Office.

Whether the deceased had a will or not; the deceased estate must be reported to the local Masters Office and the estate must be properly wound up.

If the deceased had a will; the estate is a testate estate and that will has to be submitted to the Masters Office, together with other documentation, for acceptance by the Master and the appointment of the executor whose duty it is to wind up the estate.

The same legal process applies to intestate estates; where there is no will; and then the common law and rules of intestacy apply to the estate and heirs and beneficiaries will usually be a surviving spouses, children and sometimes parents and siblings of the deceased.

The reporting of an estate and its winding up is a formal legal process and is managed and overseen by the Masters Office; which has to approve each step of that process and ensure that the Executor does his/her job correctly and complies fully with the terms of the deceased’s will or the rules on intestate succession.

You need professional help for this process and the estate should be reported as soon as possible after the death of the deceased.

If you have experienced difficulties with enforcing your legal rights around the reporting of or the winding up of a deceased estate; please contact us at The Legal Advice Office at or send an email to one of our email addresses; either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also phone us on 082-0932304 and then speak personally to Hugh; our senior legal consultant.

Should you wish to comment on this or any other legal topic; just send us an e-mail; and we will respond within 48 hours; as stated above.

Thank you.

The Legal Advice Office Team.


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Legal Advice Office

South Africa

Kandelaar Street, Vermont, Hermanus
Phone: +27 (0) 82 093 2304