What Happens if I Die Without a Will in South Africa? | Legal Articles

 

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What Happens if I Die Without a Will in South Africa?

Having a will is one of the most important parts of estate planning and ensures that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.

However, without a will in place, what happens to your estate after you die?

In this article, we explain the rules of intestate succession.

family law attorneys south africa

What is Intestate Succession?

Intestate succession is the law that applies when someone dies without a will, leaving their estate behind without instruction on how to distribute it.

What Happens When You Die Without a Will?

If you die without a will in place, your estate will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act, and the following rules apply:

  • In the case where only a spouse survives, the spouse will inherit the full estate
  • In the case where only the deceased’s biological children survive, the estate will be distributed equally between them
  • In the case where the deceased leaves behind a spouse and children, the spouse will get a child share or a total of R250 000 – whichever is greatest, and the balance will be equally distributed between the biological children
  • In the case where the deceased had no spouse or children, their estate will be equally distributed to the surviving blood relatives
  • In the case where the deceased had no spouse, dependents, or other blood relatives, their closest relatives will inherit the estate in equal shares
  • If there are no surviving relatives, the estate will be placed in the Guardians fund for a period of 30 years and if no relative comes forward to claim the estate, it will be distributed to the State

What About Adopted Children or Unmarried Partners?

As it currently stands, surviving partners who were not married to the deceased and adopted children do not have any claim to a deceased’s estate, unless there is a will in place which nominates them as beneficiaries.

However, in one of our previous articles, we looked at how this law was challenged in the Constitutional Court and discussed the outcome.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Family Law Attorneys in South Africa

If you have assets and a family, you should have a will. A will ensures that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.

For assistance with setting up a will, or if you are looking to nominate an executor of your estate, our attorneys are available to assist you.

Contact us to find out more.

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.


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