The Seller passed away during the transaction. What now?

While concluding the sale of an immovable property, the seller will sign a power of attorney, which gives the attorney the obligation and authority to attend to the transfer of a certain property, which has been sold for a certain amount on behalf of the said seller.

Each power of attorney will differ in its content and the terms contained therein, but the basics will remain.

When the seller dies any power of attorney that may have been executed will automatically lapse. The legal principle behind it is that you, as the authorized person, can not act on behalf of a person that can not act for himself, which is common sense.

The same principle applies when a person becomes insolvent, or is so incapacitated that they can not make their own decisions.

In the latter case the Court may grant an order declaring the patient to be of unsound mind and as such incapable of managing his affairs and following this, to have a curator bonis appointed to administer the patient’s financial affairs.

The curatorship application is usually brought by a member of the patient’s family. However, any person who can show sufficient interest can also do so, for example, a friend or business partner.

It is important to keep your family up to date on powers of attorneys signed, so that someone can let the attorney know who is holding a power of attorney on your behalf.  If a transaction is registered after date of death on a power of attorney that has lapsed,  it can have far reaching consequences for the estate and the finalization thereof.

Source is Neuwmann Van Rooyen.