Property Sales and Deceased Estates

If you are the Purchaser of a property which involves a deceased estate, there are a few essentials of which you should be aware.

When a person passes away, the Master of the High Court appoints an Executor of the Estate to administer the winding up, which includes collection of the assets of the deceased, payment of the outstanding debts and thereafter distribution to the heirs of their inheritance.

Property sales involving a deceased estate can be either from the heir in an estate (which means that the property needs to be transferred to the heir first, or simultaneously with the transfer to the heir) or directly from the estate which is preferable and involves a quicker process. Before the property can be transferred to the heir, the Master must first approve the Liquidation and Distribution account and it has lain for inspection free from objection. 

If the property is to be bought directly from an Estate, the only person that can sign the deed of sale on behalf of the estate as the seller is the Executor as appointed by the Letter of Executorship issued by the Master of the High Court. This appointment must be done before a deed of sale can be signed by the Executor.

Even though the process of purchasing the property directly from the Estate can be quicker, the consent of the Master is still required in the form of a Section 42(2) of the Administration of Deceased Estate Act certificate. The application to the Master is completed and signed by the Executor and contains various questions to be answered to enable the Master to grant he consent and issue the necessary endorsement. The written consent of the heirs must accompany the application for the said certificate. If any of the heirs object, the sale cannot proceed.

It is vitally important to consult with the Executor of the Estate to determine the best way forward with regard to the particular circumstances of the deceased and the heirs of the estate.

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