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Question
Posted by: Charne | 2010/03/29

Estate

Hi.

My grandfather passed away in a car accident 19 years ago. After his death, my father and I moved in with my gran. My father sold our house.

It was discussed and agreed in 2001 between my father, his sister and the executor of the estate, my fathers brother as well as my grandmother, that my father would get the house, (which was estimated at R180 000 at the time of his death) and that he would pay my uncle and aunt R60 000 each from his money in the will. My uncle said he did not want any money out of the will (he''s wealthy) so my aunt would get his share.

In 2005, my aunt said that we (my father, my partner and I) should give up the house and it should be sold because it is too big for us. She sees it as " bricks and mortar, whereas I see it as the house my grandfather built.

In 2007, my father spent R200 000 on the house in renovations. When my father fell ill, he spoke to my uncle and asked him what was happening with the transfer. He said my father was still getting the house. I phoned him and he confirmed this to me.

Is there any way that they can go back on their word? My grandmother has since had a stroke, so if they wanted to, it would be my fathers word against my aunt and uncle.

What ground do we have to stand on, and is there any way we can speed up the process from our side?

Please try and assist, or refer me. It would be much appreciated!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

It is not clear whether your father will be inheriting the property in terms of your late grandfather's Will. If this is the case, it will probably be awarded to him in terms of a redistribution agreement where the beneficiaries have agreed that your father will inherit the property on the condition that he pays an amount of R60 000-00 each to the other beneficiaries. If this is the case, it is quite straight forward, and this has to be done under supervision of the Master's Office, so you will have nothing to worry about. It is also possible that the property was bequeathed to the three children in equal shares, in which case your father may also offer to purchase the other 2/3 share for the amount mentioned.

Seeing that such a long period has lapsed since your family had discussed the matter, I would rather guess that this was only a mutual verbal agreement between the parties, and that the property has not been bequeathed to your father in terms of either you late grandfather or grandmother's will. Should this be the case, it is very well true that anything can happen to the house. However should the house still be registered in your late grandfather's name, it will have to be awarded in terms of his will, by his executor. Alternatively, should the property be in your grandmother's name, she will have to sign the Power of Attorney for transfer, for the property to be transferred to someone else's name. Should she in the mean time pass away, the property will have to be dealt with in terms of her will. Should you have proof that your father paid for improvements to the said property, you may lodge a claim against your grandfather or grandmother's estate for the amount of which the value of the property has increased as a result thereof, but a refund of the full amount is not always guaranteed.

As I do not have all the facts at hand I am not able to give you any clear cut answers. You are however, welcome to contact me, should you need any further advice on this matter.

Bertus Preller
bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: family law expert | 2010/03/30

It is not clear whether your father will be inheriting the property in terms of your late grandfather's Will. If this is the case, it will probably be awarded to him in terms of a redistribution agreement where the beneficiaries have agreed that your father will inherit the property on the condition that he pays an amount of R60 000-00 each to the other beneficiaries. If this is the case, it is quite straight forward, and this has to be done under supervision of the Master's Office, so you will have nothing to worry about. It is also possible that the property was bequeathed to the three children in equal shares, in which case your father may also offer to purchase the other 2/3 share for the amount mentioned.

Seeing that such a long period has lapsed since your family had discussed the matter, I would rather guess that this was only a mutual verbal agreement between the parties, and that the property has not been bequeathed to your father in terms of either you late grandfather or grandmother's will. Should this be the case, it is very well true that anything can happen to the house. However should the house still be registered in your late grandfather's name, it will have to be awarded in terms of his will, by his executor. Alternatively, should the property be in your grandmother's name, she will have to sign the Power of Attorney for transfer, for the property to be transferred to someone else's name. Should she in the mean time pass away, the property will have to be dealt with in terms of her will. Should you have proof that your father paid for improvements to the said property, you may lodge a claim against your grandfather or grandmother's estate for the amount of which the value of the property has increased as a result thereof, but a refund of the full amount is not always guaranteed.

As I do not have all the facts at hand I am not able to give you any clear cut answers. You are however, welcome to contact me, should you need any further advice on this matter.

Bertus Preller
bertus@divorceattorney.co.za

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