Is it better to get married?

Is it better to get married?

To all the love-birds, it is better to get married, rather than living together without a valid arrangement, for the following reasons:

the marital law protects you if you are married, whereas when you just live together there is no statutory protection
my opinion is that it is better to get married outside community of property, with accrual, rather than in community of property
Being married outside community of property, with accrual, means the following:

A) each person starts with the existing assets they have
B) each inventory stays separate from the other and the one cannot be responsible for the other’s debt etc.

MYTHS REGARDING WILLS AND DECEASED ESTATES

If you die without a valid Will, your assets are automatically forfeited to the State.  Everyone has a right to inherit from a parent.  An oral promise of an inheritance is a valid promise. These are all myths, and here are some other misunderstood points: Due to freedom of testation you can basically say anything you like in your Will.  No. For example, in your Will you cannot ask your executor to carry out your wishes, if to do so would invalidate Acts of Parliament, promulgated regulations or other rules. Nor may you make stipulations contra bonos mores (contrary to public morals), for example by making your son’s inheritance conditional upon his divorcing his wife. You may also not divest a parent of guardianship of his or her biological child. A Will is a contract. No. Strictly speaking, a contract is an agreement between two or more persons, whereas a Will is a unilateral declaration of your last wishes.  However, the executor’s fee arrangements in a Will may be regarded as an enforceable contract.   It is the duty of an executor to make funeral arrangements. No.  However, if he does so, it is in his personal capacity. Only funeral costs (burial or cremation) and the cost of a gravestone (or a niche in a vault, or columbarium) are permissible claims against the estate. Other costs, for example telephone and travelling costs and the cost of funeral refreshments, cannot be claimed unless authorised in your Will. Do signing powers and power of attorney lapse at death? Yes.  Only the executor may, once he has been appointed by the Master,...

The importance of regularly reviewing a will

The importance of correctly drawing up and signing a valid will according to your present Needs cannot be overemphasised.   Many married couples and partners, for example, can get by with one joint or single will in which the surviving spouse is nominated as the only heir, and the children as the heirs in the event of simultaneous death. In the event of the death of a spouse in a joint will, the surviving spouse must have a new will drawn up and signed as soon as possible, because the joint will is that of the first-dying only, as well as of both spouses if they die simultaneously or soon after each other within the period provided in the will. Unless provision is made, the joint will therefore does not cover the death of the surviving spouse.  The regular and sometimes speedy reviewing of a will is very important and in some cases extremely urgent.  Changes in, for example, your marital status, the addition and/or omission of heirs and the changing of guardians, executor and trustee, are a few examples of cases that could be extremely urgent.   Changes in assets that have been specifically bequeathed, such as a particular property, as well as new additions to your assets, necessitate a revision of your will. New legislation, amendments to legislation and new estate planning techniques are other reasons why it is very important for people to whom these might apply, to review their will and their estate planning.  There are several techniques and methods that can be applied in wills in order to save on and/or prevent estate duty.  To make the will as effective as possible, it is essential that it be reviewed regularly...

HOW TO PROVIDE FOR MINOR CHILDREN PART 2- TESTAMENTARY TRUSTS VS INTER VIVOS TRUSTS

When it comes to bequeathing assets to a trust for the benefit of your children, you can either provide for a trust to be created at your death (testamentary trust) or you can use an existing inter vivos trust (which you set up during your life time). Both these options have their own benefits. An important benefit to consider when using a testamentary trust is that this trust will qualify as a special trust. A “special trust” is defined as a testamentary trust that has been created solely for relatives of the testator, where the youngest beneficiary is under the age of 21. It is important to note that this definition refers to “the age of 21” and not to “minor” and that it refers to a trust where the youngest beneficiary is under the age of 21 and not all the beneficiaries. Such a trust will therefore qualify as a special trust for as long as one of the beneficiaries is under the age of 21. Unlike a normal trust that is taxed as a flat rate of 40%, a special trust is taxed at the same progressive tax rate that apply to natural persons. If you choose to make use of a testamentary trust, the trust will be created in your Will, which will provide who the trustees will be and what powers they will have. Just like the nomination of a guardian, the nomination of the trustee should be considered carefully. This is the person who will decide, for as long as your children are below the specified age, how your children’s inheritance is invested and...

HOW TO PROVIDE FOR MINOR CHILDREN by Tinette Burger, Sanlam

Everyone has inherent instincts to provide for their children’s needs. These needs include emotional wellbeing and guidance, physical wellbeing, financial assistance, education and support. Most people fulfill these needs quite naturally… while they’re alive. • But what happens if you die unexpectedly? • Who will then take care of your children’s needs? • Have you made provision for your minor children? • The first and most important question to ask, is: “Do you have a Will?” What happens if you don’t have a Will? If you do not have a Will, the Intestate Succession Act will apply the default rules as to who inherits what. As far as your children are concerned, this Act provides that they inherit your estate in equal shares with your spouse. This may not be what you want to happen, and it may not be tax efficient. Furthermore, if you do not have a Will and any of your children are under the age of 18, their benefit has to be paid to the Guardian’s Fund. Some of the reasons why this may not be in the best interests of your children include the following:  The Guardian’s Fund is administered by the Master of the High Court which invests the money with the Public Investment Commission.  Interest payable on amounts paid into the Fund is calculated at a rate determined by the Minister of Finance from time to time, which can be much lower than the rate that can be achieved had the money been invested elsewhere.  The Guardian’s Fund’s reputation has suffered recently as a result of recently revealed fraud...

KEEP CESSIONS AND BENEFICIARY INFORMATION UP TO DATE

Each year, thousands of life policies are ceded to financial istitutions, usually as security for a debt such as a bond, loan or overdraft.Cessions play a important role for many people in gaining access to finance, giving the lender a comfort in the knowledge that their loan will be repaid in the event of their death. Unfortunately, few people take the time to understand the implications of a cession and the impact on nominated beneficiaries, usually loved ones. Even fewer people actually cancel cessions once their debts have been paid off, leaving potentially serious implications for beneficiaries should the policyholder die or become disabled. The best person to help you with this is your financial adviser. Craig Harding, managing director of Altrisk says that policyholders need to know the ins and outs of cessions and consider all the scenarios and implications for their beneficiaries before signing on the dotted line. “The reality is that if you cede a life policy, or even a portion thereof to another party, the law provides that the cessionary will be paid before any other party. It is also not necessary for the beneficiaries to give any consent to the ceding of a policy and they may not even be aware that a cession exists. “The harsh reality is that ceding an insurance policy, for example to provide security for a loan such as a mortgage, could leave your loved ones without any source of income if you die. The cessionary will take what’s due to them first and any surplus could end up in your estatewhich could take months to settle before they...