Passing Away Without A Will And The Inheritance Due To Minors
The Role of the Intestate Succession Act in Minor Children’s Inheritance
Passing away without a will, also known as dying intestate, can have significant implications for the inheritance of minor children in South Africa. When a person dies intestate, the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 governs the distribution of their assets. In such cases, if the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse receives R250,000 or a child’s share (whichever is greater), while the children inherit the remaining estate assets in equal shares. It is crucial to understand how this process affects minor children and what steps can be taken to protect their inheritance.
A minor in South Africa is defined as a child under the age of 18. Regardless of whether the deceased left a will or not, a minor child is still entitled to inherit from their parent’s estate. When a minor child inherits fixed property, such as a house, it must be transferred and registered in their name. The executor of the deceased’s estate or the minor child cannot sell the property without obtaining approval from the Master of the High Court. If a minor child inherits cash, the funds must be deposited into the Guardian’s Fund, which is administered by the Master of the High Court. Upon reaching the age of majority (18 years old), the child can claim their inherited funds from the Guardian’s Fund. With the assistance of their legal guardian, the minor child can also claim expenses such as school fees, medical fees, or other needs from the Guardian’s Fund. To avoid complications related to your child’s inheritance, it is advisable to consult a professional who can assist in drafting a will that safeguards their interests.
Siyatec Executors can provide valuable advice on the inheritance rights of minor children and assist in drafting a suitable will to protect their interests. Reach out to us for a consultation, and let us help you secure your children’s future.
Have you thought about what will happen to your children if you die without leaving a valid Will? What will happen to your house? Your car? Cash in your bank account or investments? Do you have children who are younger than 18 years old? How will their inheritance be protected? In this article we look at the effects of dying without a valid Will and a deceased’s minor child’s inheritance.
In terms of South African law, if a person dies without a valid Will, the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 stipulates to who the assets of the deceased will be distributed and also in what portions. For example, if the deceased is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse will get R250 000 or a child’s share (whichever is greater) and the deceased’s children will get the balance of the estate in equal shares.
What happens if the deceased’s children are minors? In South Africa, a minor is a child under the age of 18 years. Should a person die with or without a Will, the deceased’s minor child still inherits from their estate. If the deceased person has fixed property, like a house, the house must be transferred and registered in the minor child’s name. The minor child or the Executor of the deceased’s estate cannot sell the house without the Master of the High Court’s approval of the sale. Where a minor child inherits cash from the deceased, the cash must be paid into the Guardian’s Fund. The Guardian’s Fund is administered by the Master of the High Court. When the minor child reaches the age of majority (18 years old) the child may claim the monies which they inherited from their deceased parent from the Guardian’s Fund. The minor child, with the assistance of their legal guardian, is also entitled to claim for things like school fees, medical fees or any other needs of the minor child from the Guardian’s Fund. To avoid complications with regards to your child’s inheritance we advise that you consult a professional who can assist you with drawing up a Will to protect your children’s inheritance.
Author: Waseemah Doutie
Attorney, Conveyancer and Legal Consultant at Siyatec Executors