A reader, who is left with his grandfather’s property after all the named heirs have passed away, is asking about the transfer process and fees payable to the executor.
He found himself in this unlikely inheritance scenario after the beneficiaries named in the will died and the family agreed that the property should be transferred to him.
The reader’s grandfather passed some years ago but specified in his will that his wife should inherit the fixed property registered in his name. On her passing the house was to go to his son, the uncle of the reader.
See the reader’s question here.
Although the reader mentions that the spouse inherited the property, it is entirely possible that a different mechanism was used.
This could be a usufruct or right of habitation, which would allow for the transfer of the property to the eventual owner but with temporary use permitted to a third party.
Regardless of the actual manner in which the will was structured, the result is that the eventual owner of the property is also deceased.
We are not told whether the uncle had a will but this would be an important aspect to consider.
If this were the case, the provisions would probably specify which of his heirs was to inherit the property.
If he had a will but did not specify the fixed property or didn’t have a general clause dealing with it, one should examine the will to determine whether a clause, often called a free residue clause, exists.
This clause acts as a “catch all” provision bequeathing any assets of the estate to the heirs.
Should the uncle not have a valid will, intestate succession would apply.
This allows for the distribution of an estate in a manner prescribed by law and in accordance with the principles of the Intestate Succession Act and taking into account the surviving familial structure of the deceased.
When there are other heirs, they can participate and agree to a redistribution agreement.
In that case the assets are not distributed in accordance with the provisions of the will.
This is usually carried out on the basis of heirs effectively swapping assets or to prevent co-ownership of assets.
However, this is apparently not the case in this instance and the family, or heirs proper, are repudiating their respective rights.
The executor should be consulted to ensure that the intentions of the parties concerned can be effected in law.
Ultimately, the executor must account for any actions taken.
The fees and conveyancing costs are prescribed by statute depending on the value of the property.
The current table of costs can easily be obtained online.
This notwithstanding, the executor is required to prepare a full accounting of the assets, distribution thereof, income and expenses of the estate in a document known as a liquidation and distribution account.
This is submitted to the Master of the High Court for scrutiny and approval prior to the advertising thereof.
Any inconsistencies or irregularities are sure to be questioned.
Ask the YourProperty experts a question here.