Purchasing a property from a deceased estate

Purchasing a property from a deceased estate

Often the property in an estate could offer good value for money. Buyers interested in the purchase of aproperty from a deceased estate should be weary of what to expect, as this process can sometimes be a lengthy and complicated one.

Author: Aiesha Isaacs

With the rising cost of living and declining economy, many South Africans are on the lookout for a bargain. Often the property in an estate could offer good value for money. Buyers interested in the purchase of aproperty from a deceased estate should be weary of what to expect, as this process can sometimes be a lengthy and complicated one.

The executor of the deceased estate is appointed to administer the estate as soon as the letters of executorship are issued by the Master of the High Court. One of the administrative duties of the executor, is to attend to the transfer or the sale of any immovable property.

In certain types of deceased estates, a notice to debtors and creditors must be placed in a local newspaper and the Government Gazette, calling on debtors and creditors to lodge their claims with the executor, within 30 days of the publication of the advertisement. Those interested in purchasing property from a deceased estate may contact the executor to establish whether there is any property in the estate and whether it will be sold.

The property must be sold for its fair market value, so as not to prejudice heirs. The main disadvantage of purchasing property from a deceased estate is that the purchaser should be mindful of the procedural steps that may result in lengthy delays. One of these procedural delays is obtaining the Master’s consent, which is required for the sale of any property from a deceased estate.

The sale of an immovable property in a deceased estate is handled by the executor, only once letters of executorship is issued by the Master because before then, no one has the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. The executor will instruct an agent or auctioneer to market and sell the property. Alternatively, the executor may sell the property privately.

Once the property is sold, the signed agreement of sale is handed to a Conveyancer to attend to the transfer of the property. The consent of all the heirs in the estate must be obtained by the Conveyancer and handed to the Master of the High Court, along with other supporting documents. The Master will peruse the documents and decide whether to consent to the sale.  There is unfortunately no set turn-around time at the Master’s office in Cape Town for the issuing of the consent, resulting in frustrated buyers and sellers. We therefore draw your attention to this aspect of purchasing property from a deceased estate. It must also be noted that once the Master’s consent is finally issued, then the transfer process flows as usual.

For more information regarding the sale and execution of deceased estates, please contact our team of legal experts at Velile Tinto Cape Incorporated.

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