Often we hear of people who are in a situation where a family member has nominated a particular financial institution as the executor of their estate and even after months of the family member’s death there is no progress with the administration and winding up of the estate. As a result, people often turn to attorneys for advice and the financial institutions refuse to let the attorneys take over the executorship of the estate.
There is a way to have the executorship of an estate removed, and this can only be done through the Master of the High Court, on the grounds listed in Section 54 of the Estates Act 66 of 1965. This is the act which governs the conduct of executors in deceased estates.
With this knowledge, keep in mind that courts will not simply remove an executor because of hostility. There needs to be a valid reason for an executor to be removed, such as: gross inefficiency, dishonesty and/or untrustworthiness. If the court is satisfied that there is a valid reason for removal, the executor will be removed.
South African courts see interference with the management of a deceased estate as upsetting the deliberate selection by the deceased of the executor to manage his/her wishes. The act mentioned above first provides for remedies of the beneficiaries, instead of removing the executor from his office.
If you need help winding up a deceased estate, get in touch with us to see how we may help you.