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There may be claims against your deceased estate after divorce.

If you signed a Will while you were married, which Will provides for a bequest to your spouse, and you subsequently get divorced, the Wills Act of South Africa provides that if you die within three months of the date of divorce, your former spouse will not be eligible to inherit the bequest concerned. However, if you die after the three-month period has expired, the bequest to your former spouse is valid. If you do not want him or her to inherit from your estate, then it is essential that you change your Will. Your maintenance obligations recorded in the consent paper/settlement agreement between your former spouse and yourself, which agreement forms part of your divorce order of court, do not cease on your death. Your estate will have to cover claims made by your former spouse either in a personal capacity or as guardian of the dependent children born of the marriage, or possibly both. Consider whether there will be sufficient liquidity in your estate to meet these claims. In your Will provide for a structure that will manage such payments which could be payable for many years after your death. Failure to plan carefully in this regard may not only prejudice the rights of the persons you are liable to maintain in terms of the divorce order, but also the financial security of your other dependants at the time of your death, e.g. a second spouse and children born of that marriage.

Retirement products and insurance policies require careful consideration to ensure that they will be distributed in accordance with your wishes and for the optimal benefits of your dependants.

For assistance in connection with the above, contact our experienced professionals on 041 363 6044 or to arrange a consultation.

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This article is not intended to constitute legal advice and is produced for information purposes only and to provide a general understanding of the legal position relating to the topic. It is recommended that advice relating to the specific circumstances of your situation be sought from our attorneys before acting upon the content of this article. This article was written at a particular point in time and accordingly may not always reflect the most recent legal developments, if any, applicable to the relevant topic. Kaplan Blumberg and its partners and/or employees, are not responsible for any consequences which may follow upon any decision taken to act upon the information provided in this article.

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