The Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 sets out the procedures that must be used in administering a deceased estate such as applying for the letters of executorship, acting as an executor, advertising an estate, compiling a liquidation and distribution account, dealing with claims against an estate and distributing the estate to beneficiaries.
Section 102 of the Act makes certain actions, such as destroying or forging a will, a criminal offence in terms of the Act and imposes penalties on persons who carry out such actions. The offences created by the Act include:
- Stealing or willfully destroying, concealing, falsifying or damaging any document purporting to be a will;
- Wilfully making a false inventory under the Act;
- Wilfully submitting to or lodging a false account with the Master;
- Wilfully making a false valuation for a purpose under the Act;
- Making any false statement when being interrogated under oath in terms of the Act; and
- Contravening or failing to comply with various critical provisions of the Act;
If convicted of an offence in terms of the Act, the penalties include imprisonment or a fine. The most serious offence under the Act is stealing or wilfully destroying, concealing, falsifying, or damaging any document purporting to be a will and this offence may attract imprisonment of up to seven years or a hefty fine.
The penalty for wilfully making a false inventory under the Act, wilfully submitting to, or lodging a false account with the Master, wilfully making a false valuation for a purpose under the Act or making any false statement when being interrogated under oath in terms of the Act is a fine or imprisonment of up to five years.
The penalty for contravening or failing to comply with various other provisions of the Act includes a fine or imprisonment of up to twelve months.
An essential part of an effective estate plan includes having a will drafted by a professional and thereafter making sure that your original will is stored in a secure place. This will prevent your will from being damaged or destroyed when you are gone and ensure that your estate is distributed as you wish it to be and that your loved ones will be provided for.
Another essential aspect of an effective estate plan is ensuring that you have appointed a qualified and trustworthy executor in your will to administer your estate. Appointing a qualified and experience executor that you trust will ensure that your executor will not willfully or negligently commit an offence in terms of the Act.
At Marsh Fidelity our team of qualified and experienced professionals can help you to ensure that your will and your estate are in order and that your assets and loved ones are protected when you pass away.