The legal requirements that ordinarily apply to the sale of land, also apply to property that is sold out of a deceased estate, namely that the agreement must be recorded in writing and be signed by both the seller and the buyer, either personally or by an agent authorised in writing to sign on that party’s behalf.
Who has the authority to sign on behalf of a deceased person’s estate? Only an executor whose appointment has been confirmed by the Master of the High Court (in the form of a document, called the Letters of Executorship) may deal with the assets and liabilities of a deceased’s estate. A sale agreement signed on behalf of a deceased person’s estate by anyone other than the executor so appointed by the Master is void and poses no legal obligation on the executor to honour same once he has been issued with Letters of Executorship. The Master’s consent to the sale is required.
For assistance in matters relating to deceased estates, contact STBB’s Estate Administration Department.