Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Registering an Ante-Nuptial Contract with the Johannesburg Deeds Office

Registering an Ante-Nuptial Contract with the Johannesburg Deeds Office

A client has appeared before you, a notary public. You drafted an ante nuptial contract, which they and their spouse-to-be, and two witnesses signed in front of you; they, you, and the witnesses, initialling the bottom right of each page in black ink, and all signing in the right spot on the last page. You signed, your signature appearing in a spot: below Quod Attestor and above Before me Notary Public, and placed your stamp by it, as well.

As you already have an account with the Deeds Office, having climbed up to the 26th floor of Marble Towers, and given in the requisite documents and forms to finance, and having gone through to data collection for them to record your signature and details as a notary, I will not note that process in this piece.

You opened your protocol register (a rather expensive book which can be bought at some Waltons stores, and other stores online or elsewhere) and filled out the number of the deed, the date of your clients signing it before you, that it was an ANC, the names of the parties, and then other details you deem pertinent, under comments, and then you stored all important documents in your protocol (likely a lever arch file with non-leaching plastic flip folder style pre-punched paper sheaths in it, so no important document gets punched), which is locked away safely, along with your protocol register. The deed number in your protocol register, either starting from 1 each year or from 1 in total, corresponds to the protocol number you then enter on the ANC itself.

When the registered ANC is back from the deeds office, the first signed original is what you still keep in the protocol register, this and not the registered ANC is deemed the original. In fact, it is a signed copy of the original and not the original itself which is to be lodged at the deeds office.

It is time to lodge and register your client's ANC with the Deeds Office, on the 26th floor of Marble Towers.

Before you jump in your car, and drive to the centre of town, you need to do a few other things first. You need to get a green cover for your ANC to be placed in. On the top left corner you should have your firm name and number, and a telephone number, or your firm stamp. The rest of the front and back sides of the cover should have standard required fields and typing on them, at the right places. You should be able to buy a hundred customized green covers from specialist stationers for about five hundred rand, including delivery.

Fill out your reference number, so they know what to put in any communications to you for that ANC. By code, next to 1, say H, and put the name of the first party, a forward slash, and the name of the second party, under name of parties, under firm number, put your firm number as assigned by the Deeds Office (and emailed to you by them) when you set up your account, and under batch, say 1. Under linking, in both boxes say 1. ANCs never tend to need linking.

On the front of your ANC itself, staple on a blank sheet of A4 paper, and put your firm number on the top left of this.

You will then need to put your ANC into its own green cover.

Your cover still needs a barcode, so the deeds office can charge you for the whole thing. You need to bring with a signed letter on your firm's letterhead, signed by a director, partner, or sole proprietor of your firm. Its heading should be along the lines of 'Representatives to apply for and collect barcodes at deeds office'. The signatory should set out who they are, and their position in the firm, and state that they authorise a specific person, stating that person's full names per their government issued Identity Document and Identity Number and that they specifically authorise them to apply for and collect barcodes from the deeds office. This should be handed in at the office where barcodes are allocated, and the representative doing so must present their government issued Identity Document when collecting such. You will probably get at least a sheet with a few dozen barcodes on it. You will need to sign, and they will record which barcodes have been given to you. You don't pay anything for barcodes until they have been used for registering a document.

You place the first barcode in the set on the bottom right of the front end of your filled out green cover. For notarial work you are unlikely to need to write anything on the back cover, which should merely have the standard writing etc on it. Nothing is written on the cover on its inside, where the ANC will be placed.

Take the cover, ANC within, to the lodgement counter. They will take the cover, ANC inside, and stamp it, enter it in their system, and take it from you.

Within about 5 business days from then, if all goes well, the deed will have gone through two examiners, and be placed in your pigeon hole, having been placed into prep. You can do a deeds office tracking at the same place you got the barcodes for about R 13.00, to see where your ANC is in the process. You will need to know what the barcode number is.

Once your ANC has entered prep, it is vital you execute it within 5 days of it entering prep. So, take it to the preparation desk, and ask for permission to execute the deed there, handing it over. Otherwise, the deed will lapse and won't be registered. They will not allow you to execute on the same day as asking to execute, unless there are some special circumstances and permission granted to you. It can be a good idea to set it down for execution for the next working day.

On the execution day, sometime before 10h30, you go in, go up to floor 26 in Marble Towers, as always, and go through to preparation to get your ANC, they having authorised your execution for that day. You then go through to a small computer, where you take out your pen and fill in the date next to date on the green cover, and sign to the right of that. They scan the barcode on the ANC, and take it from you.

Within about 2 days, it may be scanned in. Within 5 working days of your executing it, if you go in, and go to the distribution desk and ask if there is anything for firm (your firm number), they should be able to give you your ANC, which they will have stapled into its cover.

Take the ANC, bring it back to your office. Scan it in for your client after you undo the staple that holds it in its cover. A notary must keep an original of every deed executed before him, in his protocol. However, practice here seems to differ at times. It is the signed original which the notary is to keep in his protocol, the registered copy from the deeds office can be given to the client.

The cover will have stamps for lodgement, execution, for each of the two examiners and their groups, its scan, and a dated stamp from the registrar of deeds on the front. On the back there may be a stamp saying 'Final Black Book' and a date.

Inside, the ANC will have a stamp stating the fee the deeds office charged you (likely R319.00), a stamp saying 'registered' with a signature and a date, and a stamp with an H and Johannesburg on it, and the H number of the year (e.g. 111111/2018) on it. Your A4 sheet should also be in the cover, likely at the back.

You will later need to pay the deeds office for each ANC you register there with them.

For the clients, a letter to be handed to their marriage officer will need to be drafted before they wed, which can be any time after they sign the ANC before you as notary.

If something is wrong or right, the best way to find out is by going into the deeds office, and checking your pigeon hole and doing deeds office tracking. You don't tend to find out how things are going with your matter otherwise.

Nothing in this piece should be relied upon as legal advice. For that, make an appointment with your attorney.

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