Newsletter 77 (Oct 2023)
Even though Jacaranda trees are not indigenous to South Africa, they have become synonymous with the streets of Pretoria. October is one of the prettiest months of the year when these beautiful purple trees decorate the sidewalks of the city. This is one of the reasons why October is described as the most beautiful time of the year, as nature buds into a breathtaking kaleidoscope of colour throughout South Africa.
It might sound like a cliché but these gorgeous changes that take place in nature are a reminder that out of ashes, beauty can grow. No matter what life throws at you, or what circumstances you find yourself in, there is always that ray of hope that change is on its way.
If you change the way you look at things,
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
the things you look at change.
Each Legatus Trust team member is committed to providing you with the excellent service that you deserve, despite any challenges that we might encounter from service providers that we are dependent on. We thank you for your continued support!
ESTATE DUTY EXPLAINED
Read more about this in the next edition
SIGNED PROPERTY SALES AGREEMENT: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SELLER PASSES AWAY BEFORE REGISTRATION
The property market undoubtedly was dealt a blow by the recent interest rate increases by the Reserve Bank and some homeowners probably struggle to afford the increase in monthly expenses. That being said, owning one’s own home is still a very exciting prospect and a dream for many.
Buying a new home comes with a lot of known and unknown stress. One risk that cannot be foreseen, is the death of the property owner/seller after a sales agreement has already been signed.
The question that immediately arises is: What happens to the buyer’s sales agreement to buy the property when the owner passes away before an immovable property has been legally transferred into the buyer’s name?
The good news is that the death of the seller does not invalidate a sales agreement, nor does the agreement lapse. The bad news is that the transaction will probably take longer to finalise. It will also have to be determined if the agreement was validly concluded and if all of the requirements of a valid contract were met. It will then be the duty of the executor to enforce the agreement if everything is in order, and to ensure that the agreement will remain in place.
After the death of the seller, the sales agreement of the immovable property will have to be paused. The death of the seller must first be reported to the executor, who in turn, will have to wait to be appointed by the Master of the High Court as the executor of the estate.
The duty of the executor is to firstly determine whether the estate is solvent, and whether the sales agreement is valid and binding. The executor will then have to obtain a certificate from the Master, which will only be provided if there are no objections to the property, i.e. if the owner has existing debts.
Power of attorney
The power of attorney signed by the deceased seller in favour of the conveyancing attorney will become invalid if the registration did not take place yet or if the matter has already been lodged at the Deeds Office.
After reporting the estate to the Master, the executor must sign a new power of attorney in favour of the conveyancer to proceed with the sales agreement. In terms of the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965, the new power of attorney must also be endorsed by the Master of the High Court.
Consent of heirs
Regarding immovable property in the deceased’s estate, the heirs must, normally, consent to the sale of the property in the estate. In this case, where a valid and a binding agreement was already signed before the death of the seller, and the registration was not finalized yet, the consent of the heirs is no longer required. Should the heirs object to the sale, the buyer can approach the court to enforce the sales agreement.
Even though the passing of the seller is an uncontrollable factor, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. At least it does provide peace of mind to know that if a property transaction has not been finalised yet, the transaction can still come to fruition. It is, however, important to always ensure that the content of the agreement is valid and binding, and meets all the requirements of a sales agreement.
A SERIES ON LEADERS WHO LEFT THE BIGGEST LEGACIES
People want to be remembered in some way after they are gone and want to leave a memorable legacy. Legacies come in very different forms. They can be self-aggrandizing or selfless. In the next few editions of The Legatus Times newsletter, we will remind you of some of the biggest legacies left by leaders for the benefit of all mankind.
Albert Einstein is a prominent name known to most people. He was a German theoretical physicist, responsible for developing the theory of relativity. He is described as a peerless genius, and there is also the notion that he was one of the most methodically motivated human beings who ever lived. What made Einstein great was that he discovered what motivated him most and then remained devoted to pursuing his motivations. The famously eccentric genius also came up with the mass-energy equivalence formula, E = mc². In 1921 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics, having discovered the law of the photoelectric effect. This discovery was to become pivotal in the evolution of quantum theory, an infinite legacy still relevant to us all today.
Until next time!
“The Legatus Times” Team