Answer to a question from a reader

How can I get my late mother’s deceased estate registered with the Master

The short answer

If the value of the estate is less than R250,000, the Master of the High Court may issue a letter of authority, in terms of section 18(3) of the Administration of Estates Act.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

How can  I get my late mother’s deceased estate registered with the Master, for which she had named me in her will as the executor? My mother workers for SAPS. Why hasn't SAPS paid out my mother's Government Employees Pension Fund?

The long answer

When a death is reported, a deceased estate comes into being, and no one is authorized to act on behalf of the estate until an executor is appointed. I don’t understand what the problem has been to register the estate and get the letter of authority. If the value of the estate is less than R250,000, the Master of the High Court may issue a letter of authority, in terms of section 18(3) of the Administration of Estates Act.

If you have been told that you need to register the claim at the Cape Town Master’s office, I don’t see that you have any alternative but to take all the documents to the Cape Town Master’s office and register the deceased estate. These are the documents you will need:

  • Completed Death Notice (Afrikaans or English) form - J294;

  • Original or certified copy of the Death Certificate;

  • Original or certified copy of Marriage Certificate (if applicable) or acceptable proof of being a life partner (like children’s birth certificates) as requested by the Master;

  • All original wills and codicils or documents purporting to be such (if any);

  • Completed Next-of-Kin Affidavit  - J192 (if the deceased did not leave a valid will);

  • Completed Inventory (form - J243) showing all the assets of the deceased (Proof of the value of the assets must be provided)

  • List of creditors of deceased (if applicable);

  • Nominations by the heirs for the appointment of a Master’s representative in the case of an intestate estate or where no executor
    has been nominated in the will or the nominated executor declines the appointment;

  • Acceptance of Master’s Directions - J155 (English), completed and signed by the person as nominated above;

  • Certified copy of the ID of the person to be appointed as Master’s representative.

If you are not assisted by the Master’s Office in Cape Town, you could contact the Master of the High Court helpline:
Tel: 012 315 1207

As far as the SAPS paying your late mother’s pension in March 2021 when she died in January 2021, was it because her death was not reported to the fund? If she was a SAPS member, she would have belonged to the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF). If she died in service, the benefit due to her would be based on her period of pensionable service. It is payable to the beneficiaries of the deceased member or, if there are no beneficiaries, to the member’s estate.

On the GEPF website, they explain that retirement or discharge annuities are guaranteed for five years after a member retires. If the member dies within five years, her beneficiaries receive the balance of the five-year annuity payments, excluding the annual supplement. A beneficiary would be a spouse or a dependent child, or persons nominated as her beneficiaries. 

If your mother completed an up-to-date Beneficiary Nomination WP1002 Form before her death, and the beneficiaries are 18 years and older, they would have to complete the Banking Particulars Z894 form and submit certified copies (not older than 6 months) of their IDs. 

If there are no beneficiaries, the payment would go to her deceased estate. 

Perhaps the best thing to do here is to go and see the GEPF and find out what the situation or problem is, what they are wanting you to repay and their reasons. These are their contact details: 

GEPF Toll free number: 08 00 117 669 


You could also approach Legal Aid (which is a means-tested organisation) for free legal advice and assistance:

  • Legal Aid Advice Line (Toll-free): 0800 110 110

  • Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179

You could also approach The Black Sash, an organisation that gives free paralegal advice, to help you:

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 20, 2023, 8:48 a.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.