Part 1: Homes In A Deceased Estate Causes Heartache For Families

How To Transfer A House Out Of A Deceased Estate?

This week we start a 2-part series of articles dealing with a problem faced by many families when the family home is registered in the name of a deceased person. The deceased person could be a parent, spouse, child or sibling of the people who live in the house. In South Africa we have a system where ownership of immovable property, such as a house, is recorded in the Deeds Registry in terms of the Deeds Registries Act. This means that the law does not recognise a person as the owner of a house, unless they are the registered owner in terms of the Deeds Registries Act. If you live in a house and you are not the owner, it can cause many problems for families. For example: you will not be able to sell the house to any other person, you can’t get a loan using the house as security, there may be other people who also claim that the house belongs to them, and you will not be able to sort out any problems with the municipality.

The only way to deal with this problem is to transfer the house from the name of the deceased person to the heirs.

When the registered owner of a house dies, their property forms part of what is called a deceased estate. The property is to be transferred out of the deceased estate to an heir nominated in the Will or where the deceased died without leaving a valid Will, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act. The transfer of the property out of the deceased estate can only be done by a Conveyancer who is an attorney that specialises in property transfers.

The transfer of the property out of the deceased estate can only be done by a Conveyancer

Only an executor appointed by the Master in terms of Letters of Executorship can deal with the assets of the deceased. This means the executor can instruct a Conveyancer to transfer a property out of the deceased estate. In most cases the appointed executor is a relative of the deceased, who acts with the assistance of qualified professional to help with the process.

In summary there is a financial risk in not transferring a house out of a deceased estate to the heirs of such estate. The first step is to obtain Letters of Executorship and then to instruct a Conveyancer who can attend to the transfer of the property.

Siyatec can assist you with getting transfer of the property to your name. Contact us if you require assistance, or even if you just want to check if your property is actually registered in your name.

Author: Wafiq Davids (B SocSci, LL.B.)
Attorney, Notary, Conveyancer and Legal Consultant at Siyatec Executors

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