Property practitioners are often involved in marketing property which is an asset in a deceased person’s estate. However, buying from a deceased estate can deter buyers or investors from pursuing the purchase because such transfers are known to take longer than usual to finalize.
Surviving spouses or heirs may not always want to take ownership of property left behind in a deceased loved one’s estate and will consequently instruct an estate agent to market the property.
However, it is up to the property practitioner to manage the expectations of prospective buyers by informing them of factors which could delay the transfer of ownership.
It should be considered that only the executor of the estate as appointed by the Master of the High Court is authorized to issue a mandate to a property practitioner to market the property in question.
Such authorization is only granted after the Letters of Executorship are issued by the Master and, these letters can only be issued once the relevant documents have been submitted to the Master’s office. This process can take up to three months.
If a deed of sale is entered into prior to the formal appointment of an executor, it will be considered invalid and, therefore, cannot be authorized.
For this reason, it is crucial that to ensure that the appointed executor has received the Letters of Executorship before they sign any sale agreement.
Property practitioners involved in marketing the property must request the Letters of Executorship from the executor to ensure that the seller is fully authorized to issue a mandate to the estate agent.
According to section 42(2) of the Administration of Estates Act, the Master of the High Court must consent to the sale. This can only happen once the agreement of sale has been signed.
The conveyancing attorney will request the executor to sign a formal application before submitting the application to the Master for its consent, along with all the necessary supporting documents. It is required that all heirs who have interest in the property must provide written consent to sell the property in question.
The process of obtaining consent from the Master, as well as all the heirs of the deceased estate can be a lengthy and time-consuming process.
Our property attorneys in Cape Town and Johannesburg are able to assist you with this process.
Contact us for more information.
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