Monthly Archives: May 2020

Effects Corona Virus will have on business operations and personal affairs

B1COVID-19 may, undoubtedly, have the largest impact on the global economy which we have ever witnessed. It has most certainly had an unprecedented impact on local business and the personal affairs of all South Africans. This is, however, not the time to shy away from the challenges which lie ahead. Businesses and individuals need to be proactive about their current positions and consider the effects that the Corona Virus will have on their current and future business operations and personal affairs.

Undoubtedly, you may feel overwhelmed and face uncertainty on the way forward for your business and personal interests. Here is how we can assist:

ESTATE PLANNING

A comprehensive estate plan is crucial for giving effect to your will. The reality of the matter is that without an estate plan in place, it may not be possible to have your wishes carried out – regardless of your intentions. By ensuring you have an estate plan, you can mitigate any unforeseen consequences which might crop up in the future.

If you have any doubts about what the future might hold for your loved ones or simply feel that it is time to revise the state of your personal affairs, don’t hesitate to contact our offices. How can we help?

  • Let us examine and revise your current will or assist you in drawing up one for the first time;
  • Let us advise you on the options available to address issues such as the maintenance of your surviving spouse, the maintenance and educational needs of your children, the liquidity of your estate and estate duty implications;
  • Let us examine and revise your current estate plan or assist you in formulating a plan to suit your specific needs;
  • Let us advise and assist in the implementation of your estate plan through various instruments such as the establishment of trusts.

LABOUR RELATIONS

Under the current lockdown regulations, many sectors of the economy are under strain as certain business remain closed or operate at a limited capacity. A topic which is dreaded by all business owners alike is that of the retrenchment of employees. Unpleasant as it may be, some businesses are left with little to no other options and are forced to implement such measures to ensure the future sustainability of their business operations.

These measures must, however, be carried out fairly and in compliance with the procedures which are set out in the Labour Relations Act, No. 66 of 1995. An employer’s failure to carry out a retrenchment

process lawfully, could result in legal claims from aggrieved employees which may put even greater financial strain on the business.

If you are contemplating the dismissal of employees for operational reasons or if you are an employee who has been unfairly affected by a retrenchment process, our offices can assist you on the way forward. How can we help?

  • Let us advise you on the legal requirements for a fair retrenchment process and assist you in the implementation thereof with the necessary notices, employee consultations and severance packages;
  • Let us advise you on the fairness of your dismissal and assist in referring your claim to the appropriate Bargaining Council or the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, as the case may be;
  • Let us advise and assist you in all other labour related matters, including matters arising from the Basic Conditions of Employment, No. 75 of 1997, such as the regulation of work time, overtime pay and leave.

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS

You may find yourself in a situation where either you or your contractual counterpart are unable to perform certain obligations as a result of the global pandemic and the ensuing lockdown regulations. You may also have heard murmurs of people using the phrase “force majeure” in an attempt to escape their contractual obligations.

A force majeure is an event which is commonly referred to as an Act of God. It is an unforeseen event which is out of the control of the contracting parties and which makes it objectively impossible for either of the parties to perform their obligations under the agreement. Whether or not such clause can be invoked will depend on the wording of the contract and will have to be applied on a case to case basis.

If you are unsure on whether or not you can escape the obligations of your agreement or if you are dealing with a defaulting party who refuses to adhere to contractual provisions, let our offices advise you accordingly. How can we help?

  • Let us advise you on the stipulations of your agreement and assist you in the enforcement thereof;
  • Let us revise and update your existing agreements in accordance with the most recent legislation and modern practices;
  • Let us meticulously draft agreements for your specific business or personal needs.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Has your cabin given you the fever?

B2At the end of the national lockdown, many South Africans will have gotten to know their properties better than the architects who designed them. For some, this time will lead to ways they plan to improve their homes, for others, it will leave them desperately wanting to never see the same four walls again. But how do you enter the buying market again after the lockdown?

The answer is, with extra care. While buying property is never something to step into lightly, the chances of making an impulsive decision once you’ve tasted freedom again are a lot higher than they were before. The best advice would be to treat the experience as if nothing has changed. For the real estate market, this may even be somewhat true.

The real estate market has proven time and again that it is able to recover from even the worst crises, whether it be financial, social or medical. The reason for the market’s stability lies in its properties’ stability. While stock markets crash and abstract financial concepts such as inflation crumble during a pandemic, properties continue to stand unaffected. And while stock trading is quite low on the priority list during a worldwide pandemic, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, a priority that is still at the top is the need for housing. The real estate market, by nature, prevails.

So once the lockdown is lifted, don’t rush things. Use the same diligent consideration in every decision and make sure you invest accordingly.

That said, there is one way in which the lockdown should influence your purchase. Use the negative experiences and shortfalls of your current (or soon to be previous) home to help guide you towards what it is you truly need and want in a home. An experience that may have seemed negative will help you to create a clear vision of what your next home should be.

Once the lockdown has lifted, precautionary measures may still be put in place, especially regarding social distancing, nevermind people’s own fears of entering society again. The future introduction of the Electonic Deeds Registration System, which was promulgated in 2019, will further assist the restoration of the property market even as the scare of the pandemic continues to loom over the country even long after the lockdown has been lifted.

This electronic platform will allow property ownership to be transferred without having to set a foot inside a cramped government office, effectively continuing social distancing and creating a more efficient conveyancing process.

So keep calm and plan your property comeback accordingly.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)