Transfer costs in a deceased estate

A client asked:

We own a property that is registered in both my wife’s and my name, meaning we have joint ownership on an equal basis.

What I’d like to obtain clarity on is, how are the property transfer fees calculated if the first dying leaves the property to the surviving spouse? Are transfer fees based on 50% of the property value, and if not, why not?

The deceased’s spouse’s half share must be transferred to the surviving spouse at the Deeds Office either by formal transfer (if married out of community of property) or by endorsement (if married in community of property), which is a less formal process.

There will be no transfer duty payable to SARS.

Attorney’s fees are based on the value of the property reflected in the Liquidation and Distribution Account, as follows:

  • Marriage in community –  75% of the value
  • Marriage out of community – 50% of the value

The deceased estate usually pays the attorney’s fees, but if there are no funds available, then the surviving spouse must pay the costs.

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