Answer to a question from a reader

My mother passed away 7 years ago while waiting for a house. What is going to happen to that house?

The short answer

It depends on several factors.

The whole question

My mother passed away seven years ago while she was still on the waiting list to receive a house. I have three other siblings, and we would like to know what is going to happen to her house?

The long answer

If your mother was married in community of property, and her husband is still alive, he would inherit half of the joint estate - half of the value of the house. 

If she was not married, or if he is no longer alive, and she did not leave a will stating who would inherit her house, the law of intestate succession applies (The Intestate Succession Act of 1987). That means that her house would be inherited equally by her children. 

That means that you four girls would have equal shares in the house and you would all have to agree to sell it, before it could be sold.

If there are title deeds in your mother’s name, you could check with the municipality how best to transfer the title into your names. If you are not sure whether any title deeds were issued, you could find out from your nearest Deeds Office. You would need to go in person, taking your mother’s death certificate, ID, the erf number of the house and any other documents that prove she was the owner of the house, and ask the person at the reception desk to do a search for the title deeds. This would cost about R14.00. If no title deeds were issued, you could ask the municipality to assist in getting the deeds issued, as the title deeds are the only legal proof of ownership.   

Answered on July 6, 2020, 9:41 a.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.