Estate Costs

This is a guide to the relevant Estate Costs pertaining to the winding up of a Deceased Estate in South Africa. Please be advised that this is only a guide and pricing may be subject to change at anytime. It’s advisable to do your own research with your Estate Representative and or your local branch of The Master of the High Court.

Master’s Fees payable to the Master of the High Court

  • For estates with a value between R250 000.00 – R400 000.00 = R600.00
  • Fees escalate as value of the estate increases, to a maximum of R7000.00.

Administration Charges
Executor’s remuneration, of which the maximum tariff is determined currently to be 3.5% (excluding VAT) on the gross value of the Deceased Estate assets, including on the gross value of a community of property estate (excluding life insurance policies and retirement fund benefits payable directly to beneficiaries), and 6% of all collectable incomes (e.g. rentals, interest and dividends) which the executor collects on behalf of the estate from the date of the testator’s death to the date of final distribution of the Deceased Estate. 

Valuation costs of assets to be valued for Deceased Estate purposes
The Master may insist that the assets of the Deceased Estate be valued by a Sworn Appraiser who is entitled to a fee, which is calculated according to a prescribed fee structure based on a sliding scale. The Appraiser is also entitled to levy travel charges, which are also calculated on a prescribed scale determined from time to time. Amongst other things, the Appraiser must have a good knowledge of property values in the area in which he is appointed. 

Advertising Costs
The Administration of Estates Act stipulates that, in the case of each Deceased Estate, an executor who has been appointed to administer the Deceased Estate must place the following advertisements:

  • Calling upon all creditors to prove their debts against the Deceased Estate;
  • Giving notice that the Liquidation and Distribution Account is open for inspection for a given time at a certain venue;
  • Both the above-mentioned advertisements must appear in one or more local newspapers published in the area where the deceased ordinarily lived, as well as in the Government Gazette. If the deceased lived in another district within 12 months prior to his or her death, the advertisement must also appear in one or more newspapers in that district.

Costs for provision of security to the Master where Executor does not qualify for an exemption
In terms of the Administration of Estates Act, only certain executors are exempt from providing security to the Master. If a nominated executor does not qualify for the exemption, the Master will insist that the executor provide the necessary security for the value of the Deceased Estate before the executor’s appointment is confirmed. The security must be in the form of a Bond of Security issued by a short-term insurance company. The current annual rate for this amounts to 0,684% on the value of the security (which will be aligned with the gross value of the estate), with a minimum annual premium of R300.

Deceased Estate bank account bank charges
Professional executors who administer large numbers of Deceased Estates may negotiate favourable rates with the relevant banks.

Transfer costs of fixed property
Before a Deceased Estate can be finalised, fixed property forming part of the Deceased Estate must be transferred into the name of its rightful heir in terms of the Deeds Registries Act. The transfer costs involved are payable from the Deceased Estate and are calculated according to the value of the fixed property on a sliding scale.

Cancellation costs of bonds registered over fixed property in the estate
The executor must cancel all bonds registered over fixed property forming part of the Deceased Estate after the outstanding balances have been settled in full. The costs involved are payable by the Deceased Estate and is a fixed amount as established from time to time by the Law Society.

Funeral Costs
Funeral and burial or cremation costs form part of the claims against the Deceased Estate and are payable from the funds of the Deceased Estate. Should these have been paid already that person may be refunded by the Deceased Estate.