Part 2: Homes In A Deceased Estate Causes Heartache For Families
When Can A House In A Deceased Estate Be Transferred To The Heirs?
Last week we discussed how a house registered in the name of a deceased person can be transferred out of the deceased estate. The first step in this process is to make application to the Master of the High Court for Letters of Executorship, which authorises a person to act as the Executor on behalf of the estate. For more information about the Master, Letters of Executorship and Executor see the main page of our website and the explanatory videos.
As an individual approaching the Master for Letters of Executorship, it is a frustrating time-consuming process. Especially under Covid-19 lockdown, you may not even be able to get into the Master’s Office. Even if you do manage to get into the Master’s Office it is likely that you will be told that you need the assistance of an attorney. The standard fee for assisting with a deceased estate is 3,5% of the total of the gross assets. Siyatec does not charge based on a percentage of the estate value. We charge affordable Flat Rate fees. On our website you will find all the information you need about our fee structure. To get things going all you need to do is complete our easy online consultation or give us a call and we can assist you.
Once Letters of Executorship have been issued by the Master, the house in the deceased estate can be dealt with. Depending on the preference of the heirs, there are a number of different ways this can happen. First, if there is no Will the heirs of the estate is determined by the Intestate Succession Act. In this case, the heirs will most likely be the surviving spouse and children of the deceased. The house will then be transferred by a Conveyancer out of the deceased estate to the heirs in terms of the Intestate Succession Act. If the house is transferred in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, transfer can only go through once the Master has approved a Liquidation and Distribution (L&D) Account. This means transfer will only register about a year after Letters of Executorship has been issued. Secondly, if there is a Will, the house will be transferred to the person stipulated in the Will. If there is a Will, transfer can go through sooner because an approved L&D Account is not required before transfer.
The transfer of the property out of the deceased estate can only be done by a Conveyancer
Third, if the heirs want to sell the house and inherit cash from the sale of the property, this can also be done once Letters of Executorship has been issued. All the heirs will have to consent to the sale and an application will have to be submitted to the Master. If the house is sold, transfer should go through about 3 to 6 months after the sale agreement is signed.
Whichever way you choose to receive a house being inherited, we can help you. Contact us if you require assistance, or if there are any queries regarding this article.
Author: Wafiq Davids (B SocSci, LL.B.)
Attorney, Notary, Conveyancer and Legal Consultant at Siyatec Executors