The Guardian’s Fund falls under the administration of the Master of the High Court with each Master having their own Guardian’s Fund (in total 14 across South Africa). The Fund was created to hold and administer funds which are paid to the Master on behalf of various persons known or unknown.
These persons may include:
- Persons incapable of managing
- their own affairs
- Unborn heirs
- Missing or absent persons
- Persons having an interest in the
- moneys of a usufructuary,
- fiduciary or fideicommissary nature.
All funds are administered free of charge and no administration costs is paid by the account holder.
The Master receives the money and opens an account in the books of the Fund in the name of the person to whom the money belongs or the estate of which that money forms part. The money will be invested with the Public Investment Corporation and interest accrues on a monthly basis at an annual rate, determined by the minister of finance. Interest is paid for a period from a month after receipt up to 5 years after it has become claimable, unless it is legally claimed before such expiration. The Fund is also audited annually.
Your guardian, tutor, curator or person looking after you may by way of an application (Form J341) supported by quotations and accounts claim maintenance payments on your behalf. To ensure that these funds are not abused, arrangements can be made for the money to be paid directly to the specific service providers/creditors. Maintenance costs would include: school, university fees, clothing, outdoor activities and medical fees etc. An amount up to R250 000 of the invested capital and all accrued interest could be utilised for these needs.
Now that you reached majority age (18 years), got married or by declaration of the High Court of majority, you are entitled to claim your capital investment with accrued interest. This is done by way of an application (Form J251) supported by your certified identity document/passport, marriage certificate if applicable, fingerprints and/or an order of court if applicable. Keep in mind however that a testator may stipulate another age as majority (for example the age of 21 years) when a beneficiary is entitled to the invested capital, but then interest will only accrue to the age of 21 years.
It is of great importance to keep in mind that money which remains unclaimed in the Fund for a period of 30 years as from the date, upon which the person became entitled to claim it, is forfeited to the state.
If there is a possibility that someone could have left you funds when you were still a minor, my advice would be to keep reading the Government Gazette every year during September when all accounts that have become claimable will be advertised. Should you miss one of the issues, don’t despair as the account is advertised three times.
If your grandparents left you fixed property, the executor of their estate could transfer the property to your name or sell the property (with the Master’s written consent of course) and deposit the proceeds of the sale to the Fund.
It however is not advisable for anyone to bequeath fixed property to a minor (although not against the law) as it becomes more complicated to deal with the property once registered in the minor’s name due to the fact that a minor does not have contractual capacity.