Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Life's Little Ironies

Google image

I have always found it mysterious that being a cash buyer for things can be a disadvantage. Witness buying our little apartment.  Thanks to my father's legacy, we were able to pay 3/4 of the amount cash, and put up the rest from our Access mortgage bond, so it was actually a cash transaction.  Despite, the seller agreeing to our paying the balance on day of transfer of ownership, the lawyers were unconvinced that I could be guaranteed to do this and insisted that I pay all the money into their Trust Account at an interest rate that was 2% less than the money was earning in my own account. Clearly, they thought there existed a possibility that I might decide to spend the the remaining money on something else, despite the fact that I would totally forfeit my 75% deposit.  Do they have a point or not?  Anyway, I had no choice but to cough up. I would have done better to have a mortgage bond.  On a related matter, I was fascinated to hear on a program on Sectional Title Property (e.g. blocks of flats) on our radio recently, that the o 50% of the external walls' thickness belongs to the owner and the other half of the brick is regarded as "Common Property", so that if you have a crack develop in an outside wall, the Body Corporate is obliged to pay half of the repair cost. Quite awful in my view, is the last observation I want to make which is about the dubious benefit of leaving one's house to a deserving relative in one's will.  This can unwittingly be a serious burden to someone in a precarious financial position as our law states that the recipient must pay Transfer Fees in order to register the property in the new owner's name. These fees are huge!  Our neighbor is having to sell his house because when he and his wife retired to a new home, they registered it in her name only because he was sickly and 10 years older than her. She died first of a stroke and the laywers are now nagging him for the transfer fee and he doesn't have it. Ergo, he has to sell the house. If a property is registered in both names, you still have to pay the deceased one's half of the transfer.  NB. How do you sell a property that is not actually legally yours?  Catch 22.


  1. You have some very odd laws in your neck of the woods.

  2. How does your inheritance law work re property?

    1. It is up to the state you live in. Our state, the couples home, possessions, and immediate finances automatically goes to the surviving spouse with no legal ramifications unless a will specifically states otherwise. In other words, one spouse dies the other carries on with no changes unless there is a will. There is no estate on the first spouse. For children after the second spouse, the state taxes the total value of the estate which is paid out prior to the execution of the will. Federal estates taxes are only levied if the estate exceeds some value. I am not sure of businesses, rental properties, and etc. If they are jointly owned, my guess is the surviving spouse retains the business. If only the departed spouse owned the business, I am not sure what happens.

      I am pretty sure that in our state all assets are just transferred to the surviving spouse unless otherwise directed by a will. There is no inheritance taxes on the surviving spouse, things willed to children or others would be subject to the taxes.

  3. Interesting. If our people die intestate, the state takes over administration of the estate and it takes a long time to sort out.

  4. This is a very informative article. It really sparked my interest on several points. I agree with most of the points and am currently pondering the rest. Thank you for keeping your information so engaging.

  5. Fiftyodd. Check your comment on my surrogacy post. We are talking apples and oranges, I don't think you meant surrogate like the book did!