Can a house / property stay in a deceased person’s name ?


No, where the registered owner of immoveable property has died, their property/house will need to be transferred to another person – usually a family member. Assets in the name of the deceased will have to be transferred to the heirs of the Estate to be able to close off an estate and obtain the filing slip from the Master of the High Court, according to the deceased Administration Act.

The Master of the High Court appoints an executor to administer the deceased estate. The Executor is the only person who is lawfully authorised and therefore, allowed to deal with the assets of the deceased. This is done to make sure of the orderly winding up of the financial affairs of the deceased, and the protection of the financial interests of the heirs.

Immovable Property can be sold by the Executor of the Deceased Estate directly to a Third-Party Purchaser should the beneficiaries consent thereto. The Executor will be required to sign the Offer to Purchase/Sale Agreement on behalf of the Deceased Estate and in due course sign the transfer documents, also in such capacity. The Conveyancer will need to obtain a Section 42 (2) Administration of Estates Act Certificate from the Master of the High Court where the Estate was reported, to certify that the Master has no objection to the said transfer. The costs of the transfer, including transfer duty, would normally be payable by the Purchaser. The Estate would carry the costs of obtaining Rates and Levy Clearance Certificates valid until after registration. The Estate would also carry the costs of cancelling any bonds registered over the Property.