Deceased Estates – Executor vs Administration Agent

It is not a well-known fact but you can appoint an experienced deceased estate administration agent to handle the executor duties on your behalf.  The first thing that you should know is that a deceased estate is usually administered by an executor.  The executor would need to be appointed in the last will and testament in order for him/her to be granted executorship by The Master of The High Court.

Question mark icon with question about options

What options are there?

Wills and estates can be intimidating, but you do not have to handle everything on your own.  If you have been appointed as an executor, but you are overwhelmed or not experienced with the reporting requirements that need to be met then there are 2 main options that you can consider:

  1. Appoint an experienced person or company as the executor, with your renunciation from the role – the new executor would likely need to provide a Bond of Security for The Master’s Office (which they should have the facility for if need be).  A Bond of Security is usually required if the executor being appointed was not specifically mentioned in the last will and testament.
  2. Appoint an experienced person or company to be the estate administration agent, with you remaining as the executor.  The agent can act on your behalf for the entire deceased estate administration process.
Here is a common scenario to explain option 2.  We have based it on the possibility of us being appointed (names are fictional):

Janet had a valid and current Will in place, where she appointed her husband Joseph as the executor of her estate.  Janet sadly passed away a few weeks ago and Joseph is understandably still grieving and has been at a loss with where to start.  Like many people, he is not equipped to handle the requirements set out by The Master’s Office, and he needs someone to administer his wife’s deceased estate on his behalf.

How does it work?

In order to appoint us as the agent, we will prepare a power of attorney for Joseph (the appointed executor) to sign.  This would give us the authority to administer his wife’s deceased estate on his behalf, to enable us to sort debtors, creditors and bank accounts.

Our office will need Joseph’s assistance with the collection of Janet’s personal information – we have a standard checklist for this purpose.  We will rely on Joseph to ensure that we receive the correct death certificate and other relevant information listed on our checklist.  This information will enable us to prepare the initial inventory report to submit to The Master’s Office, in order to apply for the Letter of Executorship to appoint Joseph as the executor, and us as his estate administration agent.  We will attend to all administration and reporting requirements set out by The Master’s Office and current legislation.  Our office will keep detailed cost records (referred to as “WIP” – work in progress) and bank statements throughout the process, as well as ensuring that Joseph is kept informed at each stage.

We will put a simple engagement letter/service agreement in place with Joseph, explaining the terms of service, the responsibilities of both parties, and acknowledging that the executor’s remuneration will be retained by our office as payment for services rendered.

Executors / Administration Agent Remuneration

Charges are set by The Master of the High Court.

Executor / Administration Agent Remuneration Fee Structure Explained

The executor would usually administer the deceased estate themselves, and would then receive the executor’s remuneration as payment for their services.  When an agent is appointed to attend to all estate administration requirements on behalf of the executor, the agent can receive the usual remuneration as payment for services, in accordance with an agreement in place between the executor and agent.

If we were appointed to assist with a deceased estate, then we may, at our discretion, apply our internal sliding scale to any estate administered by our office.  This means that the remuneration percentage charged on the gross estate value may decrease for larger estates, depending on the total value and scope of work.  Our sliding scale and applicable fees will be explained prior to our appointment as the executor or estate administration agent.

Email us if you have any questions or if you would like to work with us.

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