Legal Articles and Guides
Estate Planning & Trusts
Estate Planning and Trusts
The legal battle between Springbok legend Joost van der Westhuizen’s brother and his estranged celebrity wife Amor Vittone over his last will and testament has been postponed indefinitely. A Pretoria News report says the will has been a bone of contention since Joost’s death in February. The rugby star's brother, Pieter van der Westhuizen, and then attorney, Ferdinand Hartzenberg, turned to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to declare the will drawn up in September 2015 as his last.
The Constitutional Court has confirmed that a law which governs matrimonial property in customary marriages is unconstitutional, says a TimesLIVE report. Section 7(1) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (RCMA) of 1998 provides that wives who entered into customary marriages before the Act was passed do not have marital property rights.
If you don’t want to be kept artificially alive – without your consent and perhaps in pain and distress – long after your medical condition becomes hopeless, you need to communicate your decision now to the doctors, hospitals and loved ones who will be caring for you at the end.
Western Cape High Court Judge Andre le Grange has declared the Wills Act inconsistent with the Constitution, as it only recognises legal marriages and not Muslim marriages. A Cape Argus report says this comes in the wake of a highly publicised Muslim Marriages’ legal dispute.
Elefterios ‘Lefty’ Piagalis – who caused his father (83) to write a new will on his death bed, thereby disinheriting his two brothers – will now have to share the family wealth as per their father’s original wishes. According to a Saturday Star report, Lefty asked the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to declare that his father’s ‘last will’ – signed shortly before his death in June 2010 – was legitimate.
If you haven’t made your will yet, get it done now. Why is that so important and how should you go about it? To answer that let’s debunk a few of the more pervasive myths and misconceptions around those questions.
The legal status of (Nikah) Muslim marriages in South Africa is amongst the most frequently queried legal issues, which unfortunately still attracts the most divergent responses. Prior to the advent of democracy, (Nikah) Muslim marriages, together with Hindu and other Traditional marriage, were not recognized as having the same legal status as civil marriages in terms of the Marriage Act 25 of 1961. Numerous reasons were finished for non-recognition, and no constructive engagement regarding the issue was entertained. An example of the then status quo, is the 1983 ruling in Ismail vs. Ismail 1983 (1) SA1006 (A).
Application to compel recognition of Muslim marriages evokes fierce legal argument. As 2015 drew to a close the Women’s Legal Centre’s application to compel government to recognise Muslim marriages finally saw the light of day. However the organisation encountered yet another stumbling block as their locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or appear before court) was contested by Muslim organisations.
Succession, colloquially referred to as inheriting, is the process whereby the heirs of a deceased person succeed to the assets which the deceased left behind at the time of death. Assets in this instance refer to the residue after all liabilities and debts of the deceased have been settled.
The mother of two Olympic athletes is facing a 15-year prison sentence after being accused of forging her deceased husband’s will and trying to defraud his estate of millions, says a Saturday Star report. Adelene Toxopeus (58), mother of Olympic marathon runner Irvette van Zyl and mother-in-law of Olympic hurdler LJ van Zyl, has been accused of forging several documents to swindle millions from the estate of her late husband, Pieter.
If you plan to form a trust, you need to know about a new directive from the Chief Master of the High Court to all Master’s Offices in the country. The directive applies to all new trusts (those “registered for the first time”) by the Master.
A recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decision (M v M (332/2015)  ZASCA 5) illustrates once again how essential it is, before getting married, to have your lawyer structure your antenuptial contract (ANC) correctly, and with as much detail as is needed for certainty.
Trusts have various advantages, but unfortunately, there are also disadvantages. Although this is not a complete synopsis of all the pros and cons, it gives a general overview of what’s involved.
The estate of a deceased person should be reported to the Master, usually within 14 days from the date of death.
Six siblings have lost their High Court bid to hang on to their onetime family home and have their stepmother’s sale of the south Durban property set aside. The Mercury reports the siblings – and one of their wives – approached the courts last year, seeking to have the sale deemed unlawful and wrongful. They wanted the property declared part of their parents’ ‘matrimonial property’.