How an Executor applies to be discharged by the Master and what the discharge means

How to ..

In terms of section 56(1) of the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 (“The Act”) an Executor may make application to the Master to be discharged from his duties as appointed Executor upon the completion of the liquidation and distribution of the deceased estate to the satisfaction of the Master subject to section 17 of the Estate Duty Act, 45 of 1955. The form such application has to take is dealt with below.

What the discharge means ..

If discharge has been given by the Master, no person shall institute any legal proceedings against the discharged Executor in respect of any claim against the deceased estate or any benefit out of that estate however such bar shall not exempt the erstwhile Executor from liability in respect of any fraudulent dealing in connection with the estate or liquidation or distribution thereof whilst he/she was still executor. Section 56(2) of the Act.

The application form ..

Application to the Master must be in the form of an affidavit, and must be lodged by the Applicant/Executor with the relevant Master overseeing the administration of the estate.

The affidavit must be deposed to by the Executor, be accompanied by the original Letters of Executorship with 2 x certified copies thereof and contain the following information :

  1. Confirmation that all estate liabilities have been discharged
  2. Confirmation that all assets have been transferred to the rightful heirs or legatees
  3. Confirmation that the estate duty, if any, has been paid
  4. Confirmation that any amounts due to SARS for personal/ capital gains taxes have been paid
  5. Confirmation that the executor has completed all his duties as set out in the Act
  6. Confirmation that the Master has been requested to reduce the bond to nil
  7. Confirmation that all records of the estate will be kept for 2 years as set in section 56(3)of the Act
  8. Confirmation that the executor is aware that the discharge does not exempt him from liability in respect of any fraudulent dealings as set out above;


Jacqui Smith (LLB)

Legal Advisor


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