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Guardian’s Fund protects minors’ interests

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Guardian's Fund manages funds on behalf of those who cannot do it themselves. 

The Guardian's Fund was established to hold and administer funds for people who are unable to do so, such as a mentally ill person who inherited a large sum of money, or the money of young children, unborn heirs, or missing persons.

The Guardian's Fund falls under the administration of the Master of the High Court.

A Master of the High Court is appointed for every provincial division of the High Court of South Africa. 

The Master of the High Court administers estates of deceased and insolvent persons in accordance with the law.

This office also protects the interests of minors and legally incapacitated persons.

“The purpose of the Guardian’s Fund is to protect the funds of minors, persons lacking legal competence and capacity, known or unknown, absent as well as untraceable beneficiaries,” said Katekane Mathye, Assistant Master in the Office of the Chief Master.

Mathye said money which remains unclaimed in the Guardian’s Fund for 30 years is forfeited to the state.

Money can only be deposited into the Guardian’s Fund if the funds were generated legally.

A guardian, tutor, curator or a person looking after a minor can claim funds held by the Guardian’s Fund.

When the Master receives or accepts any money an account must be opened in the books of the Guardian's Fund in the name of the person to whom the money belongs, or the estate of which that money forms part.

The money in the Guardian's Fund is invested with the Public Investment Commission and audited annually.

The interest is calculated monthly at a rate per year determined from time to time by the Minister of Finance. The interest is compounded monthly.

A minor account holder, as well as a person who cannot look after their own affairs, can claim maintenance from the Guardian's Fund.

Mathye said the Master is entitled to pay all accrued interest as well as up to R250 000 from the invested capital for maintenance, like school and university fees, clothes, sporting and computer equipment, medical fees, board and lodging and any other needs that can be motivated.

The guardian or person looking after the person of the account holder can claim this maintenance.

The claim can be made by submitting an application by completing the J341 form, supported by quotations and accounts.

Payments can be made directly to the service deliverer, like schools, universities and bookshops.

Minors can claim the invested money as well as the accrued interest on reaching their 18th birthday, marriage or declaration by the High Court of majority.

Money can be claimed by the account holder when entitled by way of an application using form J251, supported by a certified copy of the account holder's identity document and other supporting documents.

Mathye said untraced or undetermined beneficiaries can be claimed by the account holder when the account comes to their attention.

The Master advertises in the Government Gazette every year all accounts that have become claimable.

Services of the Guardian's Fund are free of charge and account holders pay no administration costs.

 

For more information about the Guardianís Fund visit: www.justice.gov.za