By Sanette Viljoen – SV Legal
A general perception exists that an attorney is the only person who may report the estate of a deceased person to the Master of the High Court. This perception is completely wrong. Any person may report an estate.
However, it is true that an attorney specialising in estate matters is usually very well equipped to assist with the reporting and administering of an estate, but the reporting of an estate can be done by anyone.
In practice, the Master sometimes requires that the executor should be assisted by an attorney, particularly when the person appointed as executor is a spouse or child of the deceased and has no experience in administering an estate.
In this case, the attorney is not appointed as the executor – he or she must merely assist the executor to administer the estate. In such a case, the attorney will also sign a letter to the Master confirming that he/she will assist the executor to administer the estate before the executor is then appointed by the Master.
Therefore, it is not a legal requirement that the estate must be reported by an attorney. This is only the case if it is required by the Master of the High Court.