The Executor in a deceased estate literally steps into the shoes of the deceased and must then follow a well-regulated process to finalise the financial affairs of the deceased and distribute his/her assets in accordance with the last valid Will or – in the case where there is no Will – the rules of intestate succession.
The Executor has to follow a strict process prescribed by the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965, and is obliged to account to the Master of the High Court for proper compliance with the process.
Who can be an Executor?
It is common for family members to be nominated as executor in a Will but this may be extremely unwise. If you have any valuable assets or are a professional or business person, it is worthwhile rather to nominate a fiduciary professional. A wide variety of legal issues may impact on the process and the speed with which a deceased estate can be wound up.
Rather nominate a Fiduciary Practitioner of SA ® (FPSA®) or a FISA member as Executor in your will. Members are subject to the FISA Code of Ethics and a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme. If you do wish to nominate a family member or friend as Executor, it is recommended that in your Will you appoint an agent to assist them.