How To Register Deceased Estate In Zimbabwe
A deceased estate comes into existence when a person dies and leaves property or a will. Such an estate must then be administered and distributed in terms of the deceased’s will or, if there is no valid will, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act (Act 81 of 1987) [PDF].
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Below are How To Register Deceased Estate In Zimbabwe
Registering A Deceased Estate
Steps to be taken when registering a deceased estate
The death must be registered at the nearest Births and Deaths Registry and a death certificate must be obtained.
The surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse then a family member has to take steps to register the deceased estate.
The estate should be registered at the Master of High Court’s Office or at a Magistrates’ Court depending on whether civil law or customary law applied to the deceased person.
The estate has to be reported within 14 days of the death of the deceased.
Upon registering, the responsible person will complete a death notice form, as well as an inventory form listing the deceased’s assets.
An edict meeting will then be held, attended by at least four close relatives of the deceased, where a person called an executor will be appointed to administer the estate.
Where the deceased left a will, their wishes will be respected and an executor nominated in the will shall be appointed.
Where the deceased left no will, the executor will be appointed at an edict meeting.
If the office of Executor is contested, the Master of High Court will appoint a neutral executor.
The executor will be issued with Letters of Administration. These give the executor authority to wind up the estate.
If the surviving spouse experiences problems such as property grabbing, they should immediately report the matter to the nearest police station, as the law does not permit anybody to remove any of the deceased person’s property before the estate has been wound up.
When should the estate be registered in Zimbabwe?
The estate must be registered within 14 days of the demise of the deceased. In terms of Section 5(3a) of the Administration of Estates Act (Chapter 6:01) failure to register an estate within the stipulated period, without a just cause, is a criminal offence attracting a jail term of up to one year or a fine or both.
Who can register an estate in Zimbabwe?
The surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse then a family member has to take steps to register the deceased estate. The estate should be registered at the Master of High Court’s Office or at a Magistrates’ Court depending on whether civil law or customary law applied to the deceased person.