When will a deceased’s immovable property be sold?

 The immovable property of a deceased may be sold out of the deceased estate instead of transferring the immovable property to the testate or intestate heirs of the deceased.

The sale of the deceased’s immovable property will usually take place if:

  • the heirs do not want to inherit the physical property but prefer to receive a cash inheritance;
  • there is a cash shortfall in the estate and it is necessary to sell the property to cover the estate administration expenses;
  • the deceased stipulated in his or her will that the property should be sold.

What legal requirements apply?

The legal requirements that ordinarily apply to the sale of land, also apply to immovable property that is sold out of a deceased estate.

The following will be required:

  • the agreement must be recorded in writing; and
  • the agreement must be signed by both the seller and the buyer, either personally or by an agent authorised in writing to sign on that party’s behalf;
  • the Master’s consent to the sale; and
  • as part of the Master’s approval process the consent of the heirs may also be required.

Who has the authority to sign on behalf of a deceased person’s estate?

Only an executor whose appointment has been confirmed by the Master of the High Court may deal with the assets and liabilities of a deceased’s estate. The Master will issue a Letter of Executorship to confirm that appointment.

A sale agreement must be signed by the executor so appointed by the Master or his duly authorized agent.

For assistance in matters relating to deceased estates, contact Bardine Hall at Goldberg and De Villier’s Inc’s Estate Administration Department on 041 5019800.


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