The Guardian’s Fund is established to protect and manage money on behalf of certain persons, such as children (persons below the age of 18 years), those who are not able to manage their own affairs or those who could not be found. The money held at the Guardian’s Fund is generally received from inheritance. The Guardian’s Fund forms part of and is being regulated by the Master of the High Court.
When will money be paid to the Guardian’s Fund?
- Money must be paid to the Guardian’s Fund in the following instances:
- where a child (person below the age of 18 years) or a person who cannot manage his/her own affairs inherits money from a deceased estate;
- where a person whose whereabouts are unknown inherits money from a deceased estate; or
- where the Master of the High Court directs that money from the deceased estate be paid to the Guardian’s Fund.
What will the Guardian’s Fund do to the money paid to them?
- An account will be opened in the name of the beneficiary (the person that is entitled to the money).
- If the particulars of the beneficiary is unknown, the account may be opened in the name of the deceased estate or the person who made the payment.
- The money at the Guardian’s Fund will grow with interest at a rate of 7.25% (this rate might change from time to time).
When does the money become claimable from the Guardian’s Fund?
- If the money was kept on behalf of a child, the money will become claimable when s/he reaches the age of 18 years. It is possible for a person to mention in his/her Will that the money kept should not pay out at the age of 18 years, but at a later age.
- If the money was kept on behalf of a person that cannot manage his/her own affairs, the money will become claimable to that person when s/he can manage his/her own affairs. For example, if money was kept by the Guardian’s Fund on behalf of an insolvent, the money will become available to that person upon his/her rehabilitation (where a bankrupt person is declared not to be bankrupt anymore).
- In the event where the money was kept on behalf of an unknown person, the money will become claimable upon that person receiving knowledge of the money.
How can the money be claimed from the Guardian’s Fund?
- Once the money becomes claimable, the beneficiary can complete an application form and submit same to his/her nearest Guardian’s Fund.
- The following must accompany the above application form to the Guardian’s Fund:
- a form containing the bank and personal details of the beneficiary;
- a certified copy of the identity book of the beneficiary;
- if the beneficiary is married, a marriage certificate;
- an adoption order, where applicable; and/or
- a set of fingerprints of the beneficiary.
- A set of fingerprints can be obtained from a local police station or at the Guardian’s Fund.
Can some of the money be claimed for maintenance?
- Yes, a guardian (on behalf of a child) or curator (on behalf of person unable to manage his/her own affairs) can complete an application form for certain amounts to be paid in respect of maintenance towards the beneficiary.
- The Master of the High Court is allowed to pay all interest, as well as an amount up to R250 000.00 from the beneficiary’s money towards maintenance.
- Maintenance may be claimed for the beneficiary’s school fees, clothes, medical fees, and any necessary needs that can be motivated.
- The following must accompany an application form for maintenance:
- a form indicating the nature of assistance required;
- a form containing the bank and personal details of the guardian or curator;
- a form containing information regarding the beneficiary’s income and expenditures;
- all receipts and quotations in respect of the claim;
- certified copies of identity documents of the guardian, curator and beneficiary; and/or
- a set of fingerprints of the guardian or curator.
- It is possible for payments to be made directly to a third party, such as the school of the beneficiary
What will happen to the money if a person does not claim it?
- If a period of 30 years has lapsed after the money held at the Guardian’s Fund became claimable and no one claimed the money, it will be lost to the State.
- Every year the Guardian’s Fund will advertise in the Government Gazette the money that has been unclaimed.
Can a person avoid the money being paid to the Guardian’s Fund?
- Yes, a person can stipulate in his/her Will that the money must be paid to a testamentary trust on behalf of another person, such as a child.
What is a deceased estate?
A deceased estate is all the property (such as a house, motor vehicle and money) and debts (such as a home or motor vehicle loan) that a person had at the time of his/her death.
What is a guardian?
A guardian is the person who is responsible for safeguarding the child’s property or property interests; representing the child in legal matters; and consenting to marriage, adoption, removal from South Africa, or an application for a passport. Both the husband and wife are guardians of a child born from the marriage; the mother of a child born out of wedlock is the guardian of a child, unless the father also acquires guardianship, for example, by living in a permanent life-partnership with the mother; or the court may appoint a guardian of the child.
What is a curator?
A curator is a person who is appointed by the High Court to manage the affairs of a person who cannot do it him/herself, for example a mentally ill person.
What is a beneficiary of the Guardian’s Fund?
A beneficiary is a person for whom money is being kept at the Guardian’s Fund and who can apply to receive such money once it becomes claimable.
What is a testamentary trust?
A testamentary trust is created in a Will of a person and will only be registered at the Master of the High Court after the death of that person. For example, Joan provided in her Will that an amount of money must be kept in a trust on behalf of her minor child, Junior, and that her father and two brothers should be the trustees who will be responsible to manage that amount of money.
What is a Will?
A document in which a person makes sure that his/her property is distributed in accordance with his/her wishes after his/her death.