The Documents That an Executor of a Deceased Estate Needs

When a person dies an executor of a deceased estate needs to be appointed. In most cases where there is a will. The will, will determine who the appointed executor is. It may be a family member or friend. A lawyer or commonly a bank which holds the dead person’s accounts may act as the executor.

The executor of a deceased estate then needs to approach the High Court who will, after a review of the documents, and issue a letter of appointment. After this, the person can begin the process of winding up the estate.

Duties Of an Executor Of A Deceased Estate

Executor Of A Deceased EstateA list of the type of documents that the executor will require to carry out their duties correctly are below:

  • Last signed will
  • Id documents of the deceased and if there is a surviving spouse a copy of the first page of that ID.
  • Death Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate including any Ante Nuptial Contract… or a copy of a divorce settlement if that is the case.
  • Details about any of the named heirs who have died. Their death certificates and copies of the ID.
  • Names and contact numbers for the human resources department for the place of employment of the deceased.
  • Copies of Id’s of the beneficiaries
  • Medical aid certificates
  • A SARS Income Tax reference number. If possible, the last return filed.
  • Details of any firearms that are part of the estate.
  • Any bank accounts that are in the dead person’s name with details.
  • Share Certificates/Unit trust certificates .
  • Details of Life Insurance Policies.
  • Details of accounts that may have monies still owing on them I.e. telephone accounts, electricity, TV, etc.


More Duties

  • Establish all outstanding monies owed and settle these.
  • Determine the actual assets. It will include furniture, immovable property, stocks, etc.
  • Draw up a balance sheet and then pay out to the beneficiaries in the will as stated.


NOTE: In South African law if an estate is worth less than R 125 000.00 then the winding up of the estate is a simple matter usually. There are limited documents that need to be submitted to the high courts by the executor. When the executor approaches the courts in these circumstances, they will be issued with forms which clearly indicate the documents required.

Delays :

These can happen even when the estate is simple. It is important that families liaise closely with the executor to ensure that all required documents are available. Delays can also occur when there are overseas assets.

  • Oakleigh Funeral Home Directors have experience from their side in handing across to the executor, once appointed, any funeral policies accounts, etc.


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All info was correct at time of publishing