A tutor may be appointed over the estate of a minor where necessary. A child or minor is defined in the Children’s Act as meaning a person under the age of 18 years.
The general rule is that minors are under disability in that the law does not regard them as capable of managing their own affairs. Under normal circumstances it is the parents of the minor, who are also the minor’s natural guardians, who supervise the minor’s affairs and assists him or her legally where necessary, but sometimes it may happen that a minor has no natural guardian (for example where both parents are deceased), and that no parental responsibilities and rights have been granted to any other person either in a valid Will.
Where the minor’s property consists of cash and investments only it can be deposited into the Guardian’s Fund in which case no tutor to the minor’s property is required, although a tutor or guardian to look after the person of the minor may still be necessary.
Tutors can be nominated in applications instituted in the High Court or in a Last Will and Testament where after the Master will make the appointment.
Only the following persons may validly nominate a tutor in their will
The sole natural guardian (surviving parent) of a legitimate minor, who has not been deprived of his/her guardianship over such minor by the court.
The mother of an illegitimate minor, who has not been deprived by the Court of guardianship of such minor.
The parent to whom the sole guardianship of the minor has been granted by the court.
Jacqui Smith (LLB)