How long does it take to finalise a deceased estate?

When a loved one passes away, it’s a difficult and stressful time for those left behind, and administration of the deceased estate can add to the burden – particularly when clients are unaware of how long it may take to finalise the process.

When clients don’t understand the process and the time the appointed executor needs to complete all steps before the heirs can receive their inheritance, this can lead to frustration for both client and intermediary.
Here’s a short explanation of the process with approximate timelines to help you manage your clients’ expectations:
The estate administration process
The administration process for estates of a gross value of R250 000 or more is defined in the Administration of Estates Act. The Master of the High Court publishes regulations to which administrators must adhere.
The table below is a rough guide to how long the different stages in the process may take:

ProcessApproximate time
Reporting the estate to the Master of the High Court and appointment of an executor6–10 weeks
Preparatory work for the compilation of liquidation and distribution account and submission of the accountFurther 6–24 weeks
Investigation of liquidation and distribution account by the MasterFurther 4–8 weeks
Liquidation and distribution account inspection periodFurther 4–6 weeks
Finalisation of the estate (after inspection period and provided no objections were lodged)Further 4–8 weeks
Total for an average estate6–13 months

Of course, more complicated estates can take longer, while straightforward ones may be finalised in under six months.
Sanlam Trust finalises around 1 000 estates annually, in an average of nine months.

Contact Ginsburg Financial Services for more information