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Some interesting facts about wills and estates

You only have three months' grace to change your will after a divorce. If you die after that period and have not yet changed it, your spouse will inherit as you intended before the divorce!

If you draw up a will and later make a second one, revoking the first, and then decide that you prefer the first one and destroy the second one, you cannot assume that the first one will become valid again.

The proper process to revalidate a former will is to draw up a reinstatement document. There are limits as to what you are allowed to provide for in your will. You may not contravene any laws(obviously), but you may also not act against public interest.

If you were to leave an inheritance to your daughter on the condition that she must first divorce her husband, this would be rejected on moral grounds.

A dog collar trust is the name for a trust where the planner (who is also a trustee) has the right to remove or appoint trustees. If the planner is also a beneficiary in this type of trust he will not be eligible for an estate duty saving as he has not handed over full control of the trust assets.

Where a testator is married out of community of property and subject to the accrual system, the spouse will in the event of disinheritance by the deceased spouse, still have a claim against the estate for one-half of the accrual. She would also be in a position to bring an action in terms of the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act.

If you and your spouse have children, and you die without leaving a will, then the surviving spouse will only inherit a child's share. For example : Fred dies without a will, leaving behind four children and his wife, and his estate is worth R1 000 000. The estate is split as follows : R1 000 000 / 5 (4 + 1) =3D R200 000 each. If the children are all minors, and there is no will to direct what should be done with their inheritance, then the R800 000 due to them will be paid into the Guardians' Fund, under government administration, until they become majors.

If one trustee (in an instance where more than one is appointed) is found to be negligent or corrupt, ALL of the trustees can be sued, as they are jointly liable and responsible for the trust. This holds true even if the other trustees had no idea of the guilty party's misdemeanors.

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