Debunking the Master of the High Court's Assumed Approval Authority Over a Redistribution Agreement in a Deceased Estate

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2022/v25ia8994

Keywords:

executor, Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 , Registrar of Deeds, deceased estate administration, deceased estate, Master of the High Court , redistribution agreement , acceptance certificate, administration method , liquidation method, inheritance

Abstract

A redistribution agreement is one of the available methods to assist the executor in winding up a deceased estate. It may be used to overcome impractical situations and/or statutory limitations that might occur during the estate administration process. The heirs and legatees and, in some instances, a surviving spouse may then agree to the reshuffling of their inheritance awards. The Chief Registrar of Deeds issued a directive that places a burden on the Master of the High Court in approving the "acceptance" of the agreement as part of the registration application for the transfer of immovable inheritance property. This was in response to a legal opinion from the office of the Chief State Law Advisor, incorporated in a 2010 internal Master's directive on instruction of the Chief Master. It directed that a redistribution agreement is deemed enforceable only after the Master "duly examined and approved" its legality. However, the Master's practice of approving a redistribution agreement is not a rule of law and cannot supersede the provisions of a statute. This article investigates whether the Master, as a "creature of statute", is acting within the parameters of its statutory administrative acts and functions involving a redistribution agreement.

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Author Biography

Susandra Van Wyk, North-West University

Dr Susandra van Wyk,

BIuris, LLB, LLM, BA Hons, MA, DLitt et Phil

Practicing Attorney, Notary and Conveyancer of the High Court of South Africa

Estate Examiner and Acting Assistant Master, Bloemfontein branch of the Master of the High Court, 1991-1999

Senior Lecturer at the University of South Africa and Extraordinary Researcher North-West University

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Published

2022-03-17

How to Cite

Van Wyk, S. (2022). Debunking the Master of the High Court’s Assumed Approval Authority Over a Redistribution Agreement in a Deceased Estate. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 25, 1–46. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2022/v25ia8994

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Section

Articles