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Consequences of Seller's Death Before Property Transfer

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Consequences of Seller's Death Before Property Transfer

Category Legal

Imagine finally accomplishing the goal of buying your beautiful new home; however, during the process of it being transferred, you come to find out that the owner of the property has passed away before the property could be transferred into your name.

So, what happens to you as the purchaser when the seller passes away before the property has been legally transferred in your name?

The executor of the estate

Following the Seller’s death, the Seller’s estate must be reported, and the Master of the High Court must appoint an executor.  Once appointed, the executor will have the option to ratify (accept) the Sale Agreement or request to cancel.

It is necessary for the Executor to determine whether the Estate is solvent and whether it is favourable for the estate to accept the sale agreement.  Should the executor proceed with the sale of the property, then he/she will have to obtain a certificate from the Master of the High Court to say that there is no objection against the sale of the property out of the estate.

The Power of Attorney in favour of the Conveyancing Attorney

Any transfer documents signed by the seller during his/her lifetime, including the Power of Attorney to Pass Transfer of the property, will lapse when the seller passes away.  

The Executor must sign a new Power of Attorney to Pass Transfer once the Master of the High Court has appointed him/her.  This updated Power of Attorney to Pass Transfer will then be submitted to the Master of the High Court to be endorsed in terms of Section 42(2) of the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 confirming that there is no objection to/against the sale of the property.

The heirs consent

For the Master of the High Court to consent to the sale of the property, all the heirs must approve/ consent to the sale of the deceased estate's immovable property through the Sale Agreement.  Should an heir refuse to consent to the sale of the property, then you will still have a legally enforceable Agreement in place, and you will have the option to request the Sale Agreement to be enforced by Court Order.  

Conclusion

When you find yourself in a situation where you have purchased a property and the owner passes away, rest assured the sale agreement is still valid and not automatically terminated, and the property can still be transferred into your name, should the executor and heirs accept and consent to the sale of the property.

 

Author Snymans Inc Attorneys - Gaby Turner
Published 23 Jan 2024 / Views -
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