What are the legal implications of selling a property after you have transferred it to a minor child?

What are the legal implications of selling a property after you have transferred it to a minor child?

Although it may seem like an all-inclusive investment to transfer immovable property to your minor child, the property remains separate from your estate and is regarded as an asset in the minor’s estate.

Author: Aiesha Isaacs

Transferring a property to a minor child (that is a child under the age of 18 years), has the potential to bring about many challenges should you wish to sell the property thereafter. Although it may seem like an all-inclusive investment to transfer immovable property to your minor child, the property remains separate from your estate and is regarded as an asset in the minor’s estate. An important consideration to take note of is that transferring a property to a minor child may be a one-way investment at best.

Can a minor own property in South Africa?

The procedure involved in purchasing and registering immovable property in the name of a minor child is the same as if anyone else purchases property, with the only difference arising in the formality of signature of the relevant documents.

A minor who is between the ages of seven (7) and eighteen (18) can lawfully sign a contract with the help of their parent(s) or guardian(s), that is, that both parents must co-sign the documents.

Can a minor sell the property registered in his/her name?

A minor can transfer property registered in his or her name, but there are certain legal requirements that must be met.

Section 80 of the Administration of Estate Act 66 of 1965 states that “no natural guardian shall alienate or mortgage any immovable property belonging to his minor child…unless he is authorized thereto by the Court or by the Master…’’.

The selling price will determine whether the consent of the Master is sufficient or whether a High Court Order, authorizing the sale is also required. Should you require any additional information or need assistance in the registration of property into a minor child’s name please contact our offices where we have a team of legal experts ever ready to assist and advise you further.

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