Tag Archives: testament

Dealing with marriage and estate planning

A3_GTIt is important to understand the legal implications of the marital property regime, especially when drafting a Last Will and Testament and also when entering into a marriage, as the regime chosen by the estate planner is going to affect his/her assets.

The most important forms of marriage are: marriage in community of property, marriage out of community of property (without accrual), and marriage out of community of property (with accrual).

Marriage in community of property

  1. There is no prior contractual arrangement, apart from getting married;
  2. Spouses do not have two distinct estates;
  3. There is a joint estate, with each spouse having a 50% share in each and every asset in the estate (no matter in whose name it is registered);
  4. Applies to assets acquired before the marriage and during the marriage;
  5. Should one spouse incur debts in his own name it will automatically bind his/her spouse, who will also become liable for the debt;
  6. If a sequestration takes place (in the case of insolvency), the joint estate is sequestrated.

Marriage out of community of property without the accrual system

  1. An antenuptial contract (ANC) is drawn up by an attorney (who is registered as a notary), before the marriage;
  2. Where there is no contract, the marriage is automatically in community of property;
  3. The values of each spouse’s estate on going into the marriage are stipulated in the contract;
  4. A marriage by ANC means that all property owned by spouses before the date of the marriage will remain the sole property of each spouse;
  5. Each spouse controls his/her own estate exclusively without interference from the other spouse, although each has a duty to contribute to the household expenses according to his/her means;
  6. To allow for assets acquired by spouses during the marriage to remain the sole property of each spouse, the accrual system must be specifically excluded in the ANC.

Marriage out of community of property with the accrual system

  1. The accrual system automatically applies unless expressly excluded in the antenuptial contract;
  2. The accrual system addresses the question of the growth of each spouse’s estate after the date of marriage.

ESTATE PLANNING

Donations between spouses are exempt from donations tax and estate duty.

Marriage in community of property

  1. In the event of the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse will have a claim for 50% of the value of the combined estate, thus reducing the actual value of the estate by 50%. The estate is divided after all the debts have been settled in a deceased estate (not including burial costs and estate duty, as these are the sole obligations of the deceased and not the joint estate).
  2. When drafting a Last Will and Testament, spouses married in community of property need to be aware that it is only half of any asset that he or she is able to bequeath.
  3. Upon the death of one spouse, all banking accounts are frozen (even if they are in the name of one of the spouses), which could affect liquidity.
  4. Donations or bequests to someone married in community of property can be made to exclude the community of property; in other words, if the donor stipulates that the donation must not fall into the joint estate, then the donee can build up a separate estate. However, returns on such separate assets will go back to the joint estate.

Marriage out of community of property without the accrual system

Each estate planner (spouse) retains possession of assets owned prior to the marriage.

Marriage out of community of property with the accrual system

A donation from one spouse to the other spouse is excluded from the calculation of each spouse’s accrual; in other words, the recipient does not include it in his growth and the donor’s accrual is automatically reduced by the donation amount.

DIVORCE

In the event of divorce, the marriage will be dissolved by court decree, which will address such aspects as child maintenance, access, guardianship and custody, spousal maintenance, the division of assets, division of pension interests and so on.

COHABITATION AND DEFINITION OF “SPOUSE”

Cohabitation is defined as a stable, monogamous relationship where a couple who do not wish to or cannot get married, live together as spouses. The Taxation Laws Amendment Act has extended the definition of “spouses” to include “a same sex or heterosexual union which the Commissioner is satisfied is intended to be permanent”.

Many pieces of legislation, including the Pension Funds Amendment Act and the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, now define spouse to include a partner in a cohabitative relationship, the effects of which are that cohabitees will benefit from the Section 4(q) estate duty deduction in the Estate Duty Act, and the donations tax exemptions of the Income Tax Act.

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)

U testament : ‘n Belangrike dokument

A4_GTDie lewe is baie onvoorspelbaar en ons adviseer graag kliënte om erns te maak om ‘n testament in plek te hê en boedelbeplanning te doen. Hieronder is redes waarom dit een van u belangrikste prioriteite behoort te wees.

V: Hoekom behoort ek ‘n testament te hê?

A: ‘n Testament stel u in staat om erfgename volgens u keuse te benoem. Indien u sonder ‘n testament (intestaat) sou sterf, sal u bates volgens die Wet op Intestate Erfopvolging verdeel word. Dit mag dus die gevolg hê dat persone wie u nie as erfgename sou benoem nie, voordele by u afsterwe ontvang.

V: Wie mag u testament as getuie onderteken?

A: Die testament moet in die teenwoordigheid van twee getuies geteken word, wat ook in die teenwoordigheid van mekaar teken. Slegs persone 14 jaar en ouer kwalifiseer om as getuies te teken.

V: Wat beloop Eksekuteursvergoeding?

A: Die maksimum vergoeding waarop ‘n Eksekuteur geregtig is, word deur Wetgewing vasgestel en beloop tans 3.5% van u totale bruto boedelwaarde. Eksekuteursvergoeding behoort egter onderhandel te word met die persoon wat as Eksekuteur van u testament benoem word.

V: Hoe gereeld behoort ek my testament te hersien?

A: Dit word aanbeveel dat testamente ten minste elke 2 jaar hersien word. Dit is egter ook belangrik om die hersiening van u testament met gebeurtenisse soos bv. ‘n huwelik, ‘n geboorte, ‘n egskeiding of die aankoop van eiendom te oorweeg.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies. (E&OE)

The Living Will

A1_GTMost  people are familiar with a will or testament and understand the importance of having this legal declaration drafted, by which the testator nominates an executor to manage his or her estate and provide for the distribution of his or her property to beneficiaries when he or she dies.

But how many people have considered drafting a living will?

A living will does not deal with assets, heirs and beneficiaries, but with the philosophy of death and dying, and should be considered carefully and drafted by a professional.

A living will is a legal document expressing a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatment when that person can no longer voice his or her wishes.  It is also referred to as an advance medical directive.

A typical clause in a living will would read as follows:

If the time comes when I can no longer take part in decisions for my own future, let this declaration stand as my directive.

If I suffer from physical illness or impairment expected to cause me severe distress, rendering  me incapable of rational existence, from which there is no reasonable prospect of recovery,  I withhold my consent to be kept alive by artificial means and do not give my consent to any form of tube-feeding when I am dying; and I request that I receive whatever quantity of drugs and intravenous fluids as may be required to keep me comfortable and  free from pain  even if the moment of death is hastened. I withhold my consent to any attempt at resuscitation, should my heart and breathing stop and my prognosis is hopeless.

The living will tells the doctor and family that the patient does not consent to being kept alive artificially. It speaks for the patient at a time when the patient may be unable to communicate.

South African law and most religions accepts the validity of the living will, but none of the main religions accept euthanasia.

Euthanasia is against the law. Sean Davison, the respected UWC professor who helped his 85-year-old terminally ill mother, Patricia Ferguson, die in New Zealand by preparing a lethal dose of morphine, was arrested in New Zealand in September 2010 on an attempted murder charge.

It is important to have a properly drafted, legal living will to avoid far reaching and traumatic consequences for the loved ones that stay behind.

Many lawyers who practice in the area of estate planning include a living will and a health care power of attorney in their package of estate planning documents.

The advantages of a living will

  1. The directives respect the patient’s human rights, and in particular his or her right to reject medical treatment.
  2. It encourages full discussion about end-of-life decisions.
  3. It also means that the medical staff and caregivers are aware of the patient’s wishes, and knowing what the patient wants means that doctors are more likely to give appropriate treatment.
  4. It will avoid the situation where the patient’s family and friends have to take the difficult decisions.

Disadvantages of  a living will

  1.  Drafting this document  can  be very depressing.
  2. The person may still be healthy and not in a position to actually imagine that he or she could ever be in the position where they would voluntarily give up living.
  3. When the time comes to act on the living will the patient might have changed his or her mind and it is then often difficult to amend the document.

Important points to consider

  1. The living will should not be incorporated or attached to the last will and testament, which is only acted upon after death.
  2. A living will does not become effective unless the patient becomes incapacitated; until then the patient will be able to choose appropriate treatment.
  3. A certificate by the patient’s doctor and another independent doctor certifying that the patient is either suffering from a terminal illness or permanently unconscious, is required before the living will becomes effective. In the case of a heart attack, the living will does not take effect. A living will is only executed when ultimate recovery is hopeless.
  4. You have to notify  your doctor and family of your living will and preferably have copies of the document available for the doctor, hospital  and  family.

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.

Die benoeming van ‘n eksekuteur in my testament

A3Hierdie is ‘n onderwerp waaroor al hoe meer besprekings en argumente plaasvind en dit is ook so dat individue meer ingelig raak oor wat die fooie is waarop die Eksekuteur van ‘n boedel geregtig is en hoe die fooie bereken word.

Soos ons in vorige atikels melding gemaak het, word die maksimum vergoeding waarop ‘n Eksekuteur geregtig is deur wetgewing vasgestel. Die huidige Eksekuteursvergoeding waarop ‘n Eksekuteur geregtig is, beloop tans 3.5% van die bruto boedelwaarde plus 14% BTW (indien die Eksekuteur natuurlik vir BTW geregistreer is).

Op die oog af blyk dit dat die vergoeding teen ‘n billike of selfs baie lae persentasie gehef word, maar kom ons illustreer dit met ‘n voorbeeld:

Kom ons veronderstel die bruto boedelwaarde beloop R2 miljoen. Neem kennis dat weens die drastiese stygings in die waarde van onroerende eiendomme oor die laaste paar jare, ‘n boedel met ‘n bruto waarde van R2 miljoen maklik haalbaar en baie realisties is indien u onroerende eiendom besit.

R2 miljoen x 3.5% = R70 000-00

Plus 14% BTW = R9 800-00

Totale Eksekuteursvergoeding = R79 800-00

Laasgenoemde Eksekuteursvergoeding sluit nie enige ander administrasiekostes bv. oordragkostes van die onroerende eiendom of begrafniskostes in nie. Dit is dus duidelik dat kostes om die administrasie van ‘n boedel met ‘n waarde van R2 miljoen af te handel maklik meer as R100 000 kan beloop. Die gevolg is dat individue al hoe meer oorweging daaraan gee om die langslewende of ‘n ander familielid as Eksekuteur te benoem, met die veronderstelling dat die genomineerde Eksekuteur dan in ‘n posisie geplaas word om die Eksekuteursvergoeding met ‘n instelling te onderhandel, wat dan as die genomineerde Eksekuteur se agent sal optree.

Dit gebeur egter dat die genomineerde Eksekuteur (bv. die langslewende gade) nie deeglik ingelig word oor wat hy/sy te doen staan indien sy/haar gade te sterwe sou kom nie en gevolglik stel hy/sy die eerste agent aan wat sy/haar dienste aanbied, geen onderhandeling vind plaas nie en die agent hef dus maar nog steeds die volle tarief wat deur wetgewing vasgestel word.

Ons aanbeveling is dus die volgende:

  1. Benoem die langslewende of ‘n ander familielid as Eksekuteur van jou boedel, maar maak seker dat die benoemde Eksekuteur deeglik kennis dra dat hy/sy die Eksekuteursvergoeding met ‘n instelling kan onderhandel; of
  2. Indien jy voldoende vertroue in ‘n instelling het, benoem die instelling as Eksekuteur van jou boedel, maar onderhandel die Eksekuteursvergoeding voortydig en maak die ooreengekome tarief in die testament vas. Moet dit dus nie aan iemand anders oorlaat om na jou afsterwe oor Eksekuteursfoooie te onderhandel nie.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Sal ek ‘n testament nalaat?

article3nl-July‘n Ma se wens dat haar dogter haar  diamant verloofring erf, sal dalk nie bewaarheid word indien sy nie ‘n geldige, skriftelike Testament nalaat nie, aangesien haar boedel dan in terme van die Wet op Intestate Erfopvolging No 81 van 1987 verdeel sal word.

‘n Testament sal jou die gemoedsrus gee dat jou bates sover moontlik volgens jou wense verdeel word en moet weerspieël presies hoe jou bates na jou dood hanteer moet word.  Dit mag egter nie contra bonos mores (teen die goeie sedes) wees of neerkom op “regering uit die graf” nie.

Daar is ‘n aantal wetlike vereistes waaraan ‘n geldige Testament moet voldoen.  Indien die Testament nie aan al hierdie vereistes voldoen nie, kan daar bevind word dat die Testament ongeldig is en sal jou boedel dan in terme van die Wet op Intestate Erfopvolging van 1987 beredder word.  Dit is daarom van die uiterste belang dat iemand met die nodige gespesialiseerde vaardighede en kennis jou bystaan met die opstel van jou testament.

‘n Testament moet ook gereeld hersien en opgedateer word om aan te pas by jou veranderende lewensomstandighede, byvoorbeeld nadat jy in die huwelik getree het of kinders gebore is.  Artikel 2B van die Wet op Testamente 7 van 1953 (soos gewysig deur die Erfreg Wet 43 van 1992) handel spesifiek met ‘n verandering in huwelikstatus deur middel van ‘n egskeiding en lui soos volg:

“Indien iemand te sterwe kom binne drie maande nadat sy huwelik deur ’n egskeiding of nietigverklaring deur ’n bevoegde hof ontbind is en daardie persoon voor die datum van sodanige ontbinding ’n Testament verly het, word uitvoering aan daardie Testament gegee op dieselfde wyse waarop daaraan uitvoering gegee sou word indien sy voormalige gade voor die datum van die betrokke ontbinding oorlede is, tensy uit die Testament blyk dat die erflater ondanks die ontbinding van sy huwelik bedoel het om sy voormalige gade te bevoordeel.”

Hierdie klousule kan deur middel van die volgende voorbeeld verduidelik word:  A en B se huwelik ontbind deur ‘n egskeiding en B sterf binne 3 maande vanaf die datum van die egskeiding.  B se Testament is voor die egskeiding uitgevoer.  Tensy B se testament spesifiek aandui dat A bevoordeel moet word uit hoofde van B se boedel ten spyte van die egskeiding, sal B se boedel verdeel word asof A gesterf het voordat hulle geskei het.  A sal dus nie van B se boedel erf nie.  Sou B egter sterf nadat meer as 3 maande verloop het na die egskeiding en B se Testament, wat A bevoordeel, is onveranderd, sal dit gesien word asof dit B se bedoeling was om vir A te bevoordeel, ten spyte van die egskeiding.

‘n Persoon wat hertrou, moet verseker dat die nodige veranderinge aan sy / haar testament aangebring word, andersins kan dit ernstige gevolge vir die “nuwe” gade inhou, veral in gevalle waar die testament steeds die eggenoot uit die vorige huwelik bevoordeel.

Wanneer daar minderjarige kinders ter sprake is, is dit raadsaam om voldoende voorsiening te maak vir hul lewenskoste en opvoeding in jou testament.  Dit kan gedoen word deur ‘n testamentêre trust te skep waarvan die minderjarige kinders begunstigdes is.

Om oor ‘n mens se afsterwe te dink en praat, is nie maklik nie.  Deur ‘n geldige, duidelike en ondubbelsinnige testament na te laat, kan egter onaangename familie vetes verhoed.  Dit is beslis die tyd en moeite werd om ‘n geldige testament in plek te kry.

Indien u nog nie ‘n testament in plek het nie of as u huidige testament verouderd is, kontak ons gerus by enige van ons takke ten einde u testament gratis te laat opstel of te laat wysig, so gou doenlik te: Kleinmond (028) 271 – 3031; Hermanus (028) 312 – 3626; Caledon (028) 212 – 1060, Gansbaai (028) 384 – 0100 and Riviersonderend (028) 212 – 1060.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

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