A man, whose mother has recently passed away without leaving a will, has approached the experts about the distribution of her estate, which includes a fixed property, among the descendants.
The reader, who was appointed executor of the estate, tells us that he lived with his wife and children in a granny flat owned by his mother.
He says the property was supposed to be “for him”, although the mechanics of this are not clear.
The siblings apparently settled on proposing that the reader is to pay them each an amount that seems determined by no more than an estimate at best.
The requested amounts apparently do not take into account the fact that the dwelling fell into a state of disrepair and now requires a fair amount of work for it to be habitable.
The reader indicates that he is, in principle, happy with the concept of “buying” his siblings out and has approached a bank for a mortgage to finance the payments.
However, the bank wants clarity on him being able to take unencumbered transfer and ownership of the property before granting the bond and he wants to know how to go about it.
See the reader’s question here.
When a person dies without a will the estate is wound up on the basis of it being “intestate”.
Intestate succession requires that certain principles be applied in accordance with the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act.
We are not told whether the deceased was survived by a spouse, but it would appear not and that the only heirs are the reader and his siblings.
If someone dies intestate and is not survived by a spouse, the descendants inherit the intestate estate.
We have seen that such an estate is divided among the heirs in equal portions subject to any contrary arrangement.
There may be facts unbeknown to us but it would appear that the matter is being made unnecessarily complicated.
The house should be valued for the purposes of the winding up of the estate.
This value should then be used in an agreement as to the redistribution of the intestate estate.
The costs of refurbishing the property would fall upon the reader, but the building’s state of disrepair will influence its value and the payments made to the siblings would have to be adjusted accordingly.
To effect such an arrangement, the parties should reduce the arrangement to writing.
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