Unclaimed Funds for Deceased in South Africa

Unclaimed Funds for Deceased in South Africa

Dealing with the finances of a loved one after they pass away can be a traumatic experience. It may make you wonder what happens to unclaimed funds when a family member dies in South Africa. The purpose of this article is to provide you with all the information you need about unclaimed funds for deceased South Africans.

Understanding Unclaimed Funds in South Africa

The term unclaimed funds refers to money that has been owed to someone but has not yet been claimed by them. There are many ways to invest these funds, including bank accounts, insurance policies, pension funds, and other investments.

 According to the Unclaimed Financial Assets Act (UFAA) of 2004, unclaimed funds in South Africa are governed by a state law. Financial institutions and the government are required to follow this act when handling unclaimed funds.

How Unclaimed Funds are Handled in South Africa

Financial institutions must notify the Registrar of Unclaimed Financial Assets when they discover unclaimed funds. In the Government Gazette, the Registrar will publish details about the unclaimed funds so that the public can examine them. Until the owner of the unclaimed funds has been located, financial institutions must also make reasonable attempts to locate the owner.

What are unclaimed benefits or Funds?

Despite knowing their final day of employment and leaving the Fund, a member has not claimed their unclaimed benefit. It is not possible to receive the benefit within 24 months of the member’s last day of service, as it is prohibited by the Fund’s rules.

Who is eligible to get unclaimed benefits?

  • The following individuals may claim unclaimed benefits:
  • A retired or inactive member of the GEPF
  • Beneficiaries of GEPF members who are no longer serving or who have died
  • Members of the GEPF’s Beneficiaries’ Guardians

What causes Funds to go unclaimed?

The following reasons usually contribute to unclaimed benefits:

  • Form Z102s submitted by members upon leaving the Fund were either incorrect or not submitted.
  • Insufficient information is available about the spouses or beneficiaries of deceased members to enable them to claim benefits or to receive payment from the fund.
  • GEPF cannot obtain a tax directive from SARS because its members and beneficiaries do not file taxes or are not registered for tax.
  • Benefits are returned to the GEPF due to incorrect financial information, dormant or frozen accounts, and incorrect pay points.

It is not possible to distribute the benefits from pensions and provident funds through a will, but must be distributed directly to the dependents of the member. Beneficiaries designated by a member in the absence of dependents will receive benefits. At the time of a member’s death, fund trustees will review the nominee list of the member. After determining who will receive the person’s pension payments as dependents, they will determine who will receive the retirement payments.

Sassa beneficiaries can also check their status online now.

Where can I find unused pension benefits?

If you are owed unclaimed benefits, you can search the Financial Services Conduct Authority’s (FSCA’s) website for unclaimed benefits using the Registrar of Pension Funds’ search engine.

In order to determine if there is a possible match, researchers must enter basic information about themselves, including their names, surnames, identification numbers, names of funds, and employers. If the match is successful, you will receive the contact information for the fund and/or administrator.

How to Search for Unclaimed Funds in South Africa

On the website of the Registrar of Unclaimed Financial Assets, you can search for unclaimed funds you or a loved one may have in South Africa. In order to register, you will need to provide a few pieces of personal information like your name, your ID number, and your contact information. The process for claiming funds will depend on whether your search was successful.

What Happens to Unclaimed Funds in South Africa

Funds left unclaimed by owners will be held in government custody if the owner cannot be found. There will be an investment of the funds, and all the interest earned will be used to finance government programs through the investment. Funds will remain in the government’s possession until they are claimed by the rightful owner or their heirs.

Unclaimed funds in South Africa

Many South Africans are not aware that they are owed money because they have not claimed retirement savings. Over the course of their working lives, they contributed to retirement plans in order to save this money.

Retirement plan administrators work hard to locate these former participants or their beneficiaries in order to ensure that they receive the money they deserve.

Retirement fund managers and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (“FSCA”) have been working together for the last decade to solve the unclaimed benefits problem. In the retirement funds sector, approximately R42 billion worth of funds remain unclaimed by around 4.8 million South Africans.

It is estimated that more than 200 000 former Liberty fund participants have yet to claim R2.3 billion. For the purpose of finding these recipients, Liberty has assigned a team of tracing agents.

A well-known credit management company, Transaction Capital Recoveries, is one of the most recent members of the tracing task force. Approximately R380 million in assets have been located and reimbursed by Liberty in the past year.

How to Claim Unclaimed Funds in South Africa

There is a specific process to follow in order to claim unclaimed funds in South Africa. To prove ownership of the funds, you must first prove who the rightful owner is. Besides personal identification documents, you will also need to provide any other relevant documents, such as a death certificate. Upon verification, the funds will be transferred to your bank account after you provide details about your bank account.

Who Can Claim Unclaimed Funds in South Africa

Funds left unclaimed in South Africa can be claimed by their rightful owners or their heirs. Funds are transferred to the estate of the deceased owner if the owner is deceased. We will hold funds pending the finalization of the estate if it has not been settled.

How to Prevent Unclaimed Funds in South Africa

It is important to keep your finances in order in order to prevent unclaimed funds in South Africa. In addition to checking your bank accounts, insurance policies, and other investments on a regular basis, you should also check your investments. Maintaining up-to-date personal information at financial institutions is also important. 

Please inform your bank, insurance company, and other financial institutions of any changes to your contact information to ensure that they can reach you if necessary. You should also have a valid will clearly stating what you want done with your finances after you pass away.

Guardian’s Fund List

According to Guardian, the following funds will be distributed to districts.

Funds NameDistrict
GoN 2537 Pension Funds Act (24/1956)There are unclaimed benefits from the Nzalo Umbrella Provident Fund
GoN 2538 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Pretoria & Mmabatho High Court: Master of the Guardian’s Fund
GoN 2539 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)The Master of the Northern Cape High Court – Kimberley, as amended
GoN 2540 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)The Guardian’s Fund is administered by the Master of the Eastern Cape High Court in Grahamstown, 46982 315
GoN 2542 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)The Guardian’s Fund: Bloemfontein
GoN 2543 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Pretoria & Mmabatho High Court: Master of the Guardian’s Fund
GoN 2541 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Master’s Office of Cape Town: Guardian’s Fund

Common Misconceptions About Unclaimed Funds in South Africa

Unclaimed funds in South Africa are the subject of several misconceptions. There is a common practice where financial institutions hold onto the funds for themselves. Unclaimed funds are actually required to be reported to the government by financial institutions by law. Unclaimed funds are also misunderstood as being easily accessible. Despite the simplicity of the process, gathering the necessary documentation and following the steps to claim those funds can take time and effort.

Importance of Keeping Your Finances in Order

Your overall financial well-being depends on keeping your finances in order, both to prevent unclaimed funds and to avoid them. It is helpful to review your bank accounts, insurance policies, and other investments regularly so you can identify any errors or discrepancies. Moreover, it can give you insight into areas where you might be underutilizing or overspending your money.

FAQs:

Can anyone claim unclaimed funds in South Africa?

You cannot claim the funds unless you are the rightful owner or your heirs.

How long does it take to claim unclaimed funds in South Africa?

According to the complexity of the claim, the process may take several weeks or months.

What happens if the owner of unclaimed funds is deceased?

In the event of an estate settlement, the funds will be transferred to the estate or held until it is completed.

Are financial institutions required to report unclaimed funds?

Unclaimed funds must be reported to the government by financial institutions by law.

Can unclaimed funds be used to finance government programs?

Unclaimed funds are used by the government to finance programs.

Conclusion 

It can be stressful and challenging to deal with the finances of a deceased loved one. You can navigate this process more easily if you understand how unclaimed funds are handled in South Africa. It is possible to prevent this from happening to your own finances by maintaining your finances in order and regularly conducting checks for unclaimed funds.

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