THE CURATOR BONIS

What is a Curator Bonis?

It sometimes happens that people fall ill, develop severe mental illness or are involved in accidents where there is trauma to the brain that effects the person's ability to manage their own financial affairs.

These patients may very well be in good physical health and may be able to make rational decisions regarding their personal life e.g. where they stay or the food they eat, but they are unable to make day to day decision regarding their finances. It could for example be that they spend uncontrollably or have no concept of the value of money. They could be more than happy to pay R1000 for a loaf of bread, or feel the need to buy 1000 loaves of bread for their own consumption.

In such cases family and friends need to be in a position  where they are able to take care of the patient financially, but legally speaking they have no claim nor control over the patient's finances.

Families often believe that a Power of Attorney is adequate enough to handle the affairs of the patient (i.e transact on bank accounts and make financial decisions on behalf of the patient), however if the patient does not have the mental capacity to understand what it means to give someone a Power of Attorney, the Power of Attorney is invalid and has no legal standing. A Power of Attorney therefore is only valid if the principle (the person giving the Power of Attorney) is in a position to ratify the decisions made on their behalf.

In cases like these, a family member or close friend may apply to the High Court to have the patient placed under Curatorship. The High Court may then appoint a Curator to make the financial decisions on behalf of the person who is unable to do so for themselves. This type of Curator is called the Curator-Bonis and is only concerned with managing the patients financial affairs.

What are the requirements?

Where the total assets of the estate is more than R240 000 or the annual income of the estate is more than R20 000  or the patient suffers from physical incapacity, the Master of the High Court will require that an application for Curatorship be brought in the High Court. At RFJ Yeowart Attorneys we have a team of specialists to make the process run as smoothly as possible.

As soon as the application is made, the court will appoint a Curator-ad-Litem who steps into the shoes of the patient to assist the patient  by doing a careful investigation to ascertain if the patient is suitable for Curatorship. Only once the Curator-ad-Litem submits the final report to the court, a ruling on the application can be. If approved, the Curator-Bonis will be appointed by the Master of the High Court to manage the patients affairs.

Why appoint RFJ Yeowart Attorneys
as the Curator Bonis?

At RFJ Yeowart Attorneys we have extensive experience in the application and management of Curatorships. We manage the application process, make sure that all the correct forms as well as reports are provided to the High Court and we have the good standing and expertise to be appointed as Curator of the estate. Be aware that the High Court will require the Curator Bonis to provide security for the full value of the assets of the estate being managed. The High Court has at its discretion to except a Curator Bonis from furnishing security, but will only do so if the proposed curator is a practising attorney and is in good standing with the Law Society and the Master and is known to the High Court. Because RFJ Yeowart Attorneys specialises in Curatorship estates we meet this criterion.