Inter Vivos Trust In South Africa (2022)

Over the years in South Africa, trusts have been used to secure family assets and wealth. Trusts are trust funds that assume the ownership of assets administered by a nominated trustee(s) for heirs.

Trusts are property planning instruments used to ensure a sleek and safe shift of assets from era to era. Inter Vivos Trust is one of the several types of trust funds in South Africa.

What Is An Inter Vivos Trust?

An Inter Vivos Trust is a trust established to the custom-made stipulations of a living grantor. Inter Vivos is a Latin word that means between the living. An Inter Vivos Trust is also known as a Living Trust. An Inter Vivos trust assumes ownership of the assets in it once it has been created.

A living trust authorizes you to access your assets and benefit as a grantor while you are still living, and this access is shifted to your named beneficiary by a chosen trustee in the event of your demise.

How To Set Up An Inter Vivos Trust In South Africa

You are obliged to fulfill the rigorous procedures laid out by The Trust Property Control Act when you want to establish an Inter Vivos in South Africa. It is essential that you first specify the objectives you want to fulfill by creating an Inter Vivos trust.

Next, you will need to determine the type of trust that best suits your necessities, and afterward, you move to select a name for the trust fund you want to create.

Hereafter, you are required to craft a Trust contract that will include how you want your assets to be administered by your trustees and disbursed to named beneficiaries after your demise.

However, it is recommended that you employ the services of a lawyer proficient in property planning to draft a trust contract for you. After that, you are required to nominate a trustee to hold and administer the assets in the trust fund.

Again, it is recommended that you choose a trustee who is a professional financial advisor or a proficient trust manager. A trust fund cannot be created with the absence of assets, which then requires you to transfer assets to the trust.

Afterward, you will be expected to name your beneficiaries and state how you want them to benefit from the trust. Next, you are required to enroll your trust at the Office of The Master of the High Court, and you will be issued a registration number.

Upon verifying your papers by the Master of the High Court, letters of Authority will be administered to your trustees that authorize them to discharge their fiduciary duties as trustees of your Inter Vivos Trust fund.

How An Inter Vivos Trust Works

Upon creating an Inter Vivos trust, the grantor can access the assets and benefits while still alive. However, in the event of the grantor’s demise, the assets and their benefits are shifted and administered to the heirs by the trustee.

A grantor can choose to be the trustee of their inter vivos trust until their demise when an appointed trustee can assume their fiduciary duties.

Inter Vivos trusts are classified into revocable and irrevocable trusts. A revocable trust permits modifications to be made to it by the grantor. A grantor can also choose to terminate a trust and be paid with the benefits of their assets.

However, an irrevocable trust is a permanent trust that cannot be modified after its creation. It cannot be terminated or modified after it has been established. The onus lies on the trustee to administer and allocate the assets and their benefits to beneficiaries following the grantor’s demise

Benefits Of Inter Vivos Trusts South Africa

An Inter Vivos trust offers a lot of benefits to the grantor who chooses it as their type of trust fund as well as their beneficiaries.

1. Probate Evasion

An Inter Vivos trust provides trust heirs with a way of escape from possible probate without a trust fund. Probates are cost-intensive and prolonged processes that disclose explicit asset and financial details to the public.

2. Total Control Of Assets By Grantor

A living trust permits the grantor to control their assets and benefit during their lifetime. It also permits the grantor to utilize the benefits of their assets in the living trust while they are still alive.

3. Asset Security

Legal combats and creditor claims can be avoided with an Inter Vivos trust. Upon your passing, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable, leaving no room for legal combats and creditor claims as the trust owns the assets.

4. Decreased Property Tariffs

Property tariffs cannot be eradicated, but they can be reduced when you own an Inter Vivos trust.

5. Flexibility Provision for Grantors

An Inter Vivos trust provides its grantor with more flexibility than other trusts with many legal constraints. A living trust provides a grantor with flexibility such as trust deed modification and access to assets benefits.

An Inter Vivos Trust As A Special Trust

Special Trusts are trusts established exclusively for physically or mentally challenged people and living relatives of a departed individual. 

Special Trust Type A is exclusively established with physically or mentally challenged persons as its beneficiaries, while Special Trust Type B is exclusively established with living relatives of a deceased individual as beneficiaries.

An Inter Vivos trust can be considered as a Special Trust Type-A.



Inter Vivos Trusts South Africa are trusts established to the custom-made stipulations of a living grantor. It is a trust that enables grantor access to asset benefits during their lifetime.

Inter Vivos trusts in South Africa are created following rigorous processes stated by the Trust Property Control Act. A grantor can choose to make their living trust revocable or irrevocable. Several benefits are attached to creating an Inter Vivos trust in South Africa.

In addition, an Inter Vivos trust can be considered as a Special Trust Type-A

I believe that you would want your family members to be well catered for even after your demise, and creating an Inter Vivos trust today set you on the path to ensuring your family’s well-being long after you are gone.

It is highly recommended that you consult your trusted financial advisor for professional advice and guidance before finally creating an Inter Vivos Trust.

Phew! Now that was a long read. I would also love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.

I look forward to a response from you, Yes you.


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