Answer to a question from a reader

Can a wife inherit an RDP house if she was not listed as a beneficiary?

The short answer

It depends whether or not the deceased left a will

The whole question

Dear Athalie

What happens if the deceased listed his grandchild but not his wife as a beneficiary on his RDP house? Who should get the house?

The long answer

Perhaps the first thing to find out is if there was a title deed issued for the house. You can find out by going to your nearest Deeds Office and asking them to do a data search for the title deeds. You will have to fill in a form and give them the deceased’s full names, ID number (or at least his date of birth), and the erf number of the house, not the street number. You pay about R14 for them to do the search. If there was a title deed issued, you can get a copy of it there.

A beneficiary’s name will not appear on the title deeds, but only the name of the legal owner. 

The question is whether the deceased left a will naming the grandchild as the beneficiary of the house. If he did not leave a will, the law of Intestate Succession will apply as follows: if there is a surviving wife the property will be left to her and their children. To calculate a child’s share you divide the value of the estate by the number of children of the deceased, plus one (the surviving spouse). The law says that a spouse must receive R250,000 or a child’s share, whichever is the higher amount.

In this case, the wife would inherit and if the grandchild’s parent is no longer alive, the grandchild will get the child’s share that his or her parent would have got. 

You could contact the Housing Enquiries of the Department of Human Settlements at the toll-free customer service hotline for advice: 0800 146 873 / 012 421 1915

You could also ask Legal Aid for advice and assistance here:

0800 110 110 (Monday to Friday 7am - 7pm) 

079 835 7179 (Please Call Me)

Wishing you the best,

Answered on June 30, 2021, 1:55 p.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.