Friday, November 04, 2011

Transferring your property to family

We often get requests to transfer a property from a parent to a son or daughter. There are several reasons why you may wish to do this:

1. You may have several children and one of them has taken over responsibility for paying the rates, levies and maintenance of the property and feels that it would be unfair for the other siblings to inherit;

2. You are worried that if you die with the property still in your estate you may have to pay estate duty and executor's fees based on the value of the property;

3. You can no longer afford to stay in the property but selling it would leave you worse off.

4. One or more of your children have undertaken to pay your debts or expenses in return for taking ownership of the property now.

5. There may be good tax savings transferring it now - it may also not be cheaper so please check carefully with your attorney or us for correct advice.

Unfortunately it is not free to transfer the property to a relative even if no money is being paid for the property. This is because the revenue services (Sars) view the transfer of ownership of a property as an opportunity to collect taxes based on the value of the property. Taxes include transfer duty, Vat and Deeds Office fees. In addition the attorneys attending to the change of ownership also charge for the work involved. If there is an existing mortgage bond over the property, even if it has been fully paid up, there is also a cost involved in cancelling the mortgage bond as it is registered against the title deeds of the property. It may also be necessary for the relative to whom the property is being transferred to raise finance against the property to pay the costs. There will be a charge to raise this finance. Our offices can give a quotation with pleasure and you can also get this information quickly by checking the transfer costs calculator on our website, inserting the value of the property as the "purchase price" even if no money is changing hands... follow the link here....

Somewhere to live

Another important consideration when transferring propertry to a relative is making sure that you will have somewhere to stay after the registration. Either a usufruct can be registered against the property, or a contract can be drawn up between the parent and relative, even if you think it is not important. We have had cases in our office where the child to whom the property was trasferred has died first and the parent has been left with a fight with the in-laws over the occupation of the property.

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