n South African Law Journal - Protecting the vulnerable form 'property grabbing' : the reality of administering small estates

Volume 125, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



This article seeks to examine the system of administering small intestate estates and to evaluate the effectiveness of that system in protecting the inheritance of rightful beneficiaries. Alerted by increasing anecdotes of intestate property being unlawfully appropriated, the authors undertook research at four service points at Magistrate's Courts in the Cape Town area where small intestate estates are administered. The authors evaluate the procedures in use and identify weaknesses that may be contributing to 'property grabbing'. Aware that most property grabbing takes place outside of legal institutions, this article argues that loop-holes in the current process nevertheless add to the risks of rightful beneficiaries and makes suggestions as to how strengthening the infrastructure of the administration of estates system may provide for more effective protection for those needing to use the service in the future.

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