Thought of the Week | WHEN A FOREIGN TRUST BUYS OR SELLS PROPERTY IN SA

Our law requires that when someone has been appointed as a trustee for a foreign trust, whether that appointment was made in South Africa or outside our borders, certain requirements must be met before that trustee may buy or sell property on behalf of the foreign trust.

In order to obtain Letters of Authority for the trustee of the foreign trust, the trust deed must be submitted to the Master. The trust deed must, in turn, be authenticated by a Notary of the country in which the trust is registered, before it can be submitted to the Master’s office for acceptance.

This might be problematic at times, and in certain limited circumstances a deviation is allowed to make it possible to appoint a representative in South Africa (by virtue of a power of attorney) to submit the foreign trust deed to the Master’s office for acceptance, without such authentication.

Documents that the Master’s Office will insist on include (i) the notarised trust deed and a South African version thereof (which can be signed by a representative appointed in terms of a Power of Attorney); (ii) certified copies of identification documents of the trustees (or representatives).
It occurs very often that these steps are not adhered to and the application for issuing of letters of Authority cannot be granted.

Contact us for assistance.