If someone bequeaths you something, such as a property, in their will, do not assume that you will immediately become the owner of that property on the death of the testator (the person who signed the will). It is in fact the executor of the deceased estate who takes ownership, in a fiduciary (caretaking) capacity, while the estate is under administration. Under the Administration of Estates Act the executor is obliged to take control of all estate assets until such time as the estate is fully wound up. This was brought home recently in a court case decided by the Eastern Cape Local Division of the High Court of SA. Acting Judge Albert Beyleveld granted an order to the executor in a deceased estate to have an heir evicted from a property which had been bequeathed to him in the will as he did not (yet) own the property and funds were needed to meet a claim by the deceased's wife. Background The applicant in the case was the surviving spouse of the deceased and was the appointed execu...

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