16 March 2016 by Pro Bono and Human Rights Alert

Securing the inheritance of a minor child

The Pro Bono and Human Rights practice recently obtained a favourable order on behalf of our client, the sole guardian and single mother of a minor child, from the South Gauteng High Court in a long ongoing matter concerning her child’s right to an inheritance from the deceased father’s estate.

The application was brought against the First Respondent (the customary wife of the deceased) in both her personal capacity as an heir in the intestate estate and in her capacity as executor of the deceased’s estate.

In terms of the finalised liquidation and distribution account the minor child was entitled to inherit an amount which was never paid out to our client or the Guardian’s Fund by the first executor, an attorney who was later suspended by the Master of the High Court, who then subsequently appointed the First Respondent as the next executor of the deceased’s estate.

We later discovered that the first executor of the estate was suspended from practice for alleged theft of trust money (including moneys paid to him in respect of the deceased estate) in November 2013 and removed from the roll. After the Attorney’s Fidelity Fund rejected a claim made on behalf of our client, and after unsuccessful engagements with the First Respondent we then brought an application to the High Court against the First Respondent.

The First Respondent alleges that she had paid out a sum of money inclusive of the minor child’s inheritance to the first executor, however, there was no proof thereof. Even if she had, this in any event did not discharge her obligation as executor to the minor child because any moneys that may have been paid over to the first executor were never paid to our client or to the Guardian’s Fund on behalf of the minor child. The First Respondent, who has herself lodged a claim against the Attorney’s Fidelity Fund, has been the sole heir of the deceased estate thus far and has enjoyed all assets of the deceased’s estate which was mainly made up of an immovable property, and which she later sold.

The application was argued by Lara Grenfell and Louw van der Merwe from the Johannesburg Bar before Judge Van de Linde on 4 March 2016 on the unopposed roll. The learned judge granted an order in favour of our client and her minor child.

We are now in the process of taking steps to retrieve the outstanding inheritance from the First Respondent.

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