The Guardian's Fund (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Fund') was established to administer the funds of various persons who cannot do so themselves. The Fund does so under the direction and authority of the Master of the High Court and extends to the funds of persons including:
1) Minors or unborn persons who have inherited funds in terms of the last will or by operation of intestate succession;
2) Persons incapable or declared incapable of managing their own;
3) Missing persons
4) Where the Master of the High Court directs that such person's funds be paid into the Fund.
The Process of Investment
The first step is to identify the beneficiary if possible. If the person is identifiable, then an account will be opened in that person's name. In the instance that the person is unborn or otherwise unknown, then an account will be opened in the name of either the deceased estate making the award or in the name of the person who made the payment.
The Fund does not charge an administration fee for management and invests all funds received in the Public Investment Corporation (also known as the ‘PIC'). Interest accrues monthly at an annual rate in line with the directions of the Minister of Finance. Interest operates from a month after investment up to five years of the funds become claimable before it ceases.
When can withdrawals occur?
If you are the guardian of a minor child who is to inherit funds from a deceased estate, you will be able to submit a claim for up to R250 000.00 a year plus any interest accrued for expenses relating to the maintenance of the said child. This would include schooling, medical and clothing costs and all other reasonable expenses that can be evidenced. The balance of the invested funds will then become claimable by the beneficiary upon them reaching the age of majority or otherwise as directed by the last will of the deceased estate.
If you are declared incapable of handling your affairs, you will only be able to claim any funds when you are declared capable of doing so again. This would be by direction of a court order.
In support of a claim for monies from the Fund, the beneficiary would have to submit an application form duly accompanied by proof of the guardian/beneficiary's banking details where the funds are to be paid to, a certified copy of the guardian/beneficiary's identity document and a set of their fingerprints. Should it be a claim for any maintenance payments, evidence of the expense is to be submitted to support the claim. If a guardian claims a maintenance payment, proof of their income and expenditure should also be submitted.
What happens to unclaimed funds?
Unclaimed funds are to remain under the care of the Fund and advertised in September of every year through publication in the Government Gazette. The account is advertised 3 (THREE) times. Once a period of 30 (THIRTY) years expires without the funds being claimed, the monies will be forfeited to the state.
Should the beneficiary be an unknown person, the claimable period will begin operating from when such person becomes identified.
If you are aware that you were a minor when your parents passed on or otherwise reasonably suspect that you could be the beneficiary of any funds held by the Guardian's Fund, it would be worth making an effort to ascertain whether you are eligible to make any claims. Alternatively, if you are the guardian of a minor child, researching their potential awards could help maintain the minor child until they reach the age of majority.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.