What is meant by administration of estates ?

Thabo Kgatle (legal Assistant)

Administration of estates is a process whereby after the death of a person, his or her assets are collected and thereafter distributed to the rightful heirs.

In terms of the law, any person who had assets, his/her death has to be reported to the office of the Master of the High Court of the area where she/he was ordinary resident.

The person appointed by the Master of the High Court to administer the estate of the deceased person is referred to as an executor. The law imposes certain powers and duties on the executor relating to the administration of the estate.  The executor does not necessarily have to be an heir to the estate.

In administering an estate the executor first has to determine whether the deceased died with or without a valid will.  In a case where the deceased died with a valid will, this is referred to as testate dispensation. Where the deceased died without a will or his/her will is invalid, we say he/she died intestate.

After the executor has collected the assets of the deceased and paid the debts of estate, he/she has to distribute the estate to the heirs. This is the ultimate purpose of administration of estate. The situation applies whether the deceased died testate or intestate.

The process of administration of estates may take a long time due to:

  • The legal requirements that have to be complied with;
  • the process of locating the assets of the deceasing;
  • the process of locating and verifying the debts of the deceased;
  • At times the validity of the will may be challenged in Court.

It is further very important that the surviving spouse and heirs of the deceased should assist the executor in the process of the administration of the estate. The executor should also keep the surviving spouse and heirs, if the deceased was married, of the processes and progress made in the administration of the estate and the outstanding issues.

After the administration of the estate has been finalised, the executor has to draft a document referred to as a Liquidation and Distribution Account. This document indicates:

  • All the assets of the deceased;
  • the debts and liabilities of the estate and how they were paid or to be paid;
  • and how the estate is to be be distributed among the heirs and the surviving spouse, if he/she was married.

The liquidation and Distribution Account has to be lodged with the Master for approval. If the Master approves the account, the executor can proceed to distribute the estate.

Please note that our blogs do not constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice on a specific topic or specific facts, you are free to contact our office for a consultation.

By |2019-01-28T07:49:08+00:00January 28th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What is medical negligence?

Sibusiso Mtsweni (Attorney)

Medical negligence liability is incurred when patients suffer damages, which may be attributed to sub-standard care provided by health practitioners or hospital personnel in their treatment. A medical negligence claim may be grounded in either contract or in delict and is governed by the law of obligation.

One of the elements which make up medical negligence is an omission. An omission is required due to a duty a medical practitioner owes a patient.

Wrongfulness is present if the act or omission infringes a right protected by law or breaches a legal duty owed by a medical practitioner.

The aggrieved party must show that he or she has suffered harm. If no harm has been suffered, there is no claim. When suffering loss due to medical negligence, an aggrieved party can claim damages; that is, compensation or satisfaction. The purpose of the compensation is to restore the patient to the position he or she would have been in had the wrongful act not been committed.

Causation means that the damage suffered by the patient or plaintiff, must have been caused by the conduct of the defendant or medical personnel. The harm suffered must not be too remote and the loss would not have happened had it not been for the medical practitioner’s conduct.

Fault or blameworthiness is constituted by negligence and rarely by intention. The test will be adapted to the standard of the reasonable medical practitioner, or the reasonable specialist medical practitioner in the field, with a similar degree or professional skill, in the same circumstances as the person alleged to have provided sub-standard medical care.

Please note that our blogs do not constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice on a specific topic or specific facts, you are free to contact our office for a consultation.

By |2019-01-14T09:37:40+00:00January 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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