Death is an unavoidable phenomenon. After the woes on the demise of our beloved ones, we always have to let go and move on. Life keeps going. It does not stop to let you wallow in your sorrows. For this reason, a Letter of Authority is significant.
The Letter of Authority dictates the liquidation and distribution of the properties of the deceased. The report provides a procedure for the collection and distribution of assets as well as disbursing debts. The properties are then distributed to the heirs according to the notations of the provided will. It is upon the legal executor to ensure that the property is managed well. Here is all you need to know about a letter of authority South Africa.
Letter of Authority meaning
The Letter of Authority (LOA) is a document issued by the Master of the High Court regarding the executorship of property. The document dictates the terms of passing the estate of a deceased person to the right executor. This way, a letter of executorship is issued to the rightful executor, who thereby continues to manage the deceased estates. It is always advisable to choose a professional executor who can handle the property.
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What do you do when someone dies in South Africa?
There is a legal procedure that needs to be followed upon the death of an individual. These formalities are observed when the cruel pangs of death bite. Here is what to do when someone dies South Africa.
Notice of death
When a person dies, it is upon their close friends and family to make a Notice of Death to the legal authorities. The health practitioners usually collect this data in case the deceased died in their care. The Notice of Death indicates the date and time as well as the cause of death.
Issuance of death report together with the burial order
The Home Affairs issues the death report along with the burial Order. In case the family opts for cremation instead of burial, the confirmation of a second doctor will be required.
Issuance of a death certificate
On receiving the Notice of Death and the Death Report, the Department of Home Affairs issues a death certificate, which is usually needed when an executor makes claims on the Letter of Authority for a deceased estate.
Death report to the Master of the High Court for executorship
To acquire a Letter of Executorship and a Letter of Authority, one must report the death of the deceased Master of the High Court within 14 days. The court permits executorship only in the presence of a Death Certificate.
Inheritance law in South Africa
Several rules govern inheritance in South Africa. The sole control of heritage is a will that was written by the deceased when they were alive. The will dictates the ownership of the property after the death of the original owner. Below are the requirements of a legal will, according to the South African legal matters.
- The creator of the will must be over 16 years.
- The will provided must be in writing, either typed or handwritten.
- Every page must be signed by the testator or a person appointed by the testator in the presence of witnesses.
- The witnesses must also sign the will to prove its validity.
- A commissioner of oaths must certify the will and also sign the pages of the will.
The executor, with the Letter of Authority, manages the will according to the instructions it provides. In case the amount of money is not sufficient for the recipients, the executor puts the deceased property for sale.
Notice to creditors in the deceased estates
A notice to creditors is a public notice by an executor or a trust as part of the probate of a deceased person’s estate. This notice notifies all the possible creditors and debtors of the probate, and it usually runs for a period dictated by the state laws.
Frequently asked questions on inheritance matters
Here are the most common questions and answers regarding letters of authority in South Africa.
How long does it take to settle an estate in South Africa?
It averagely takes from 6 months to 13 months to finalize the estate administration process.
Is a handwritten will legal in South Africa?
A handwritten will is legal in South Africa. The will must be signed by the testator or a person appointed by the testator in the presence of witnesses.
How long does a letter of authority last?
The validity of a Letter of Authority is usually twelve months. The LOA usually indicates the validity dates. In the case that the validity is longer or shorter than 12 months, it should be mentioned.
Is inheritance taxable in South Africa?
Inherited assets are not taxable. These assets are considered as capital receipts and are therefore not included in the gross income. The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is not payable by the person inheriting the property. The CGT is usually payable by the estate itself.
What are the implications of dying without a will in South Africa?
Making a claim on a deceased estate South Africa when there is no will requires the intervention of the Intestate Succession Act. Here, the master nominates an executor who will foresee the management of the property.
Letter of Authority template
Below is an example of a Letter of Authority template South Africa.
A letter of authority South Africa typically gives the executor authority to act on behalf of the deceased person. The Letter of Executorship South Africa is issued by the Master of the High Court to permit the executor to perform their duties legally. It is always essential to write wills for a smooth liquidation and distribution of the deceased estates.