Your Will only takes effect upon your death, and not before. Upon your death, your Executor(s) will have to apply to Court for a Grant of Probate.or death occuring prior to 15 February 2008, the Court will only issue the Grant after the Estate Duty Officer has certified the following:
- the value of your estate;
- rhe amount of estate duty payable and the fact that it has been paid; or
- that no estate duty is payable.
However, the Executor(s) have the power by virtue of your Will to act even before the Grant is issued. For example, your executors may pay or release debts and transfer property or assets, such as your car. But it is necessary to obtain the approval of the Commissioner for Estate Duty (deaths occurring prior to 15 February 2008) when dealing with landed property or major assets. In this case, it is also necessary to get a copy of the Grant of Probate.
Once the Grant of Probate is issued, the Will becomes a public document. The original Will is retained by the Court. The Executor(s) will be given a copy of the Will together with the Grant. All your property and assets will then pass to your Executor(s), who will have the responsibility of administering and distributing the estate according to the instructions in your Will.