Can I claim money from the Guardian’s Fund at 18? And can I get a full payout?
The Guardian’s Fund was created to receive and manage money on behalf of those who do not have the legal capacity to manage their own funds or are legally incapable, such as minor children. Money will be paid to the Guardian’s Fund where a beneficiary inherits money from a deceased estate, and they are under the age of 18 years old or are incapable of managing their own affairs.
Where a beneficiary’s whereabouts are unknown at the time they are due to inherit or where the Master of the High Court directs it, money from a deceased estate must be paid to the Guardian’s Fund. The High Court will appoint a guardian, who is able to then claim from the funds for the maintenance of the beneficiary.
When funds are received into the Guardian’s Fund, an account will be opened in the name of the person to whom the money belongs or the estate from which the money was received. The money in the Guardian’s Fund is invested with the Public Investment Commission, interest will accrue on the investment as determined by the minister of finance and the fund is audited annually.
An application for maintenance or an allowance can be made by the appointed guardian from the invested capital for maintenance purposes.
Supporting documents like quotes and accounts will need to be supplied with the application form. Payments can also be made directly to service providers such as the school to ensure that the funds are not abused. All the interest as well as a total of R250 000 can be claimed for maintenance.
Once a beneficiary has reached the age of majority, usually the age of 18 unless specified otherwise in the will, they are able to claim the invested money as well as the accrued interest.
The beneficiary is required to make an application using a J251 form, which must be submitted together with supporting documents to the Guardian’s Fund. These supporting documents can include proof of bank account, a certified copy of the account holder’s ID, a marriage certificate, a court order, and verification of fingerprints.
It is important to consider that the testator could have stipulated a different age in their will for when the beneficiary will become entitled to the invested capital.
Once funds become claimable from the Guardian’s Fund, if they are left unclaimed after 30 years the funds will be surrendered to the state. The Guardian’s Fund will place an advert in the Government Gazette each year for money that has been unclaimed.
A person can avoid money being paid to the Guardian’s Fund by ensuring that they have a valid last will and testament which stipulates that any money due to a minor/unfit beneficiary be paid to a testamentary trust.
This will mean that you are able to nominate trustees to manage and invest the funds on behalf of your beneficiaries. They will also have more flexibility in the investment choices as well as fewer barriers to access much-needed funds.