Johann Jacobs

Johann Jacobs

National Practice Head, Director

Johann Jacobs is a Director and National Head of our Trusts & Estates practice. Johann has practiced exclusively and specialises in work relating to the law of succession, estate and trust administration. This entails, estate planning, the drafting of wills, deceased estate administration, curatorship administration, drafting and registration of trust deeds and trusteeship and trust administration.

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Johann began his career as a secondary school teacher. After further post-graduate studies he lectured at a tertiary level in educational psychology and sociology. Whilst studying law part-time, Johann completed his articles at Macintosh Cross and Farquharson in Pretoria whereafter he moved to Cape Town and was appointed as an Associate at Walkers. After three years he founded and remained a partner at Jacobs and Pieterse for six years, then returned to Walkers as a Director for a period of six years. After a short period in New Zealand as a senior advisor at a large trust company, in August 2008 he returned to South Africa to take up an appointment as a Director at Cliffe Dekker (now Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr).

Johann was appointed as an examiner for the Attorneys Admission examination in August 2011. In 2013 he was appointed as a member of the FISA Disciplinary Committee. He became Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the Fiduciary Institute in 2014.

Johann has extensive experience in litigation and dispute resolution pertaining to matters relating to succession, estate, trust and curatorships. Johann presented the estates administration course to Candidate Attorneys on behalf of the Law Society of South Africa for a period of 11 years.

Johann is often appointed as a discretionary executor in terms of Section 18 of the Administration of Estates Act by the Master in problematic and disputed estates and as a Trustee in terms of Section 7(2) of the Trust Property Control Act. He has acted as an expert witness in relation to fiduciary matters before the Court. He has published articles in De Rebus and Without Prejudice and in the general press in respect of matters relating to deceased estates and has appeared as a guest speaker on radio and television in respect of matters relating to deceased estates. Johann has acted in a number of matters or been a party nomino officio leading to case law in this field. Johann is also a qualified mediator and arbitrator.

Johann's experience includes:

  • Estate planning and drafting of wills and trust deeds.
  • Liquidation of deceased estates.
  • Administration of testamentary and inter vivos trusts.
  • Curatorship applications.
  • Administration of curatorship estates.
  • Court applications and actions in respect of matters dealing with succession and estate and trust administration.
  • Resolving problematic estates.
  • Forensic enquiries into actions of erstwhile executors, curators or trustees.
  • Johann has been involved in the following reported cases:
    • Thesnaar v Die Meester 1997 (3) SA 169 (C)
    • Jacobs NO v Central Retirement Annuity Fund and Another [2001] 1 BPLR 1488 (PFA).
    • Ndelbele v The Master 2001 (2) SA 102 (C)
    • Jacobs v Braaff 2007 4 All SA 966 (SCA)
    • Hassam v Jacobs 2008 4 All SA 356 (C)
    • Hassam v Jacobs 2009 (5) SA 572 (CC)
    • Henriques v Giles 2010 (6) SA 51 (SCA),(2009) 4 All SA 116 (SCA)
  • Best Lawyers International 2018 and 2019 listed Johann for Trust and Estates.


  • BA HDipEd (PG), University of the Witwatersrand
  • BEd MEd BProc, Post-graduate paper on estate duty, donations tax and transfer duty, University of South Africa
  • Estates and Trust paper of the New Zealand Law and Practice admission exam
  • Year of admission as an attorney: 1992
  • Year of admission as a conveyancer: 1998


  • Cape Law Society
  • Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa¬†
Johan Jacobs talks about the budget speech
16 May 2016 Trusts & Estates

Johan Jacobs talks about the budget speech

Johann Jacobs, national practice head and director in the Trust and Estates practice talks about the budget speech which was delivered by the finance minister from trusts tax perspective.

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