Monthly Archives: February 2014

Die gemenereghuwelik in Suid- Afrika

A3Daar is geen gemenereghuwelik in die Suid-Afrikaanse reg nie. Mense glo dat deur vir ‘n aaneenlopende tydperk saam met iemand anders te woon, regte en verpligtinge tussen hulle gevestig word. Hierdie misverstand kom veral voor by jong volwassenes.

Die enigste manier om onder ons reg beskerming te geniet is deur ‘n universele vennootskapooreenkoms tussen die twee partye te sluit. So ‘n ooreenkoms gee duidelikheid oor die regte en verpligtinge van die partye. Hierdie ooreenkoms sal bepaal wat met die eiendom en bates van die partye gaan gebeur as hulle besluit om uitmekaar te gaan.  Hierdie universele vennootskapooreenkoms tussen die partye is nie afdwingbaar teenoor derdes nie. Slegs ‘n geldige huwelik is afdwingbaar teenoor derdes. Dit is belangrik om daarop te let dat vennote soms gesamentlik en afsonderlik aanspreeklik gehou kan word as hulle binne die bestek van die vennootskap optree. ‘n Ooreenkoms soos hierdie sal regtens bindend wees solank die bepalings nie immoreel of onwettig is nie. Sou daar geen ooreenkoms wees oor die ontbinding van ‘n universele vennootskapooreenkoms nie sal ‘n party slegs geregtig wees op die behoud van die bates wat hy of sy gekoop het en besit en sal hy of sy voorts geregtig wees daarop om proporsioneel die bates te deel volgens die bydrae wat elk tot die vennootskap gemaak het.

Om te bewys dat so ‘n ooreenkoms bestaan sal die partye die volgende moet kan aantoon:

  • Die doel van die vennootskap was om wins te maak.
  • Albei partye moes bygedra het tot die vennootskap.
  • Die bepalings moet tot voordeel wees van albei partye.
  • Die bepalings in die kontrak moet nie onregmatig wees nie.
  • Daar moet geldige wilsooreenstemming wees.
  • Daar is ‘n wedersydse voorneme om ‘n regtens geldige ooreenkoms te skep.

Waar daar geen uitdruklike ooreenkoms bestaan nie mag daar wel ‘n stilswyende ooreenkoms wees. So ‘n stilswyende ooreenkoms kan afgelei word as bevind word dat dit waarskynlik is dat sodanige ooreenkoms tussen die partye bereik is ten tye van hul saamwonery.

Omdat die bestaan van ‘n universele vennootskap moeilik is om te bewys is dit raadsaam om ‘n kontrak aan te gaan waarin uiteengesit word hoe daar met eiendom te werk gegaan moet word as die verhouding weens dood of om ‘n ander rede beëindig word. So ‘n kontrak sal ‘n mate van sekerheid vir die saamwoners skep oor die verdeling van bates en die afrekening van verpligtinge by beëindiging van die verhouding.

Sommige gevolge van ‘n verhouding waar daar nie ‘n geldige verbintenis tussen die partye bestaan nie, is:

  • Geen wedersydse verpligting om onderhoud te betaal nie.
  • Geen vrystelling van skenkingsbelasting in die geval van skenkings aan mekaar nie.
  • Geen voordeel ingevolge erfreg as een party intestaat sterf nie.
  • Geen reg op eiendom of bates van die saamwonende nie.
  • Geen wedersydse verpligting om by te dra tot huishoudelike noodsaaklikhede  nie.

Die ‘Domestic Partnership Bill’ van 2008 is steeds in sy formuleringstadium en daar sal gesien moet word hoe dit geïmplementeer word. In die huidige grondwetlike bedeling is dit onwaarskynlik dat ‘n vennoot in wanhoop gedompel sal word as die ‘Domestic Partnership Bill’ in berekening gebring word.

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.

The living will

A4Most  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.

By Monica Störzner

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.

Why is the transfer of my property taking so long?

A2After signing a deed of sale, the purchasers often want to move into the property with great excitement and as soon as possible. When they are informed of the process involved prior to the property being transferred this may place a damper on their excitement. Coupled with this there may even be delays in the transaction.

In order to avoid unnecessary frustration it is vital that parties to the transaction understand the processes involved and that delays are sometimes inevitable. Besides possible delays there are a number of processes that need to be followed before a house can be registered in a purchaser’s name.

At the outset, it must be determined if the deed of sale is valid and binding between the parties. If not, a valid and binding contract will first have to be concluded between the parties.

The deed of sale will normally be the starting point in a transaction for a conveyancer who has been instructed to attend to the transfer. This conveyancer is also known as the transferring attorney and is normally the main link between the other attorneys involved the transfer transaction. Other attorneys involved are normally a bond attorney and/or bond cancellation attorney.

A major role of the transferring attorney is informing any mortgagees, for example banks, about the transfer so that any notice periods for the cancellation of bonds can start running.  The notice period is normally up to 90 days. If the bond is cancelled before then, there could be penalties payable.  The transfer may therefore be delayed as a result of the notice period.

If the purchaser will be registering a new mortgage bond to finance the transaction, a bond attorney will be appointed. Since the transferring attorney will not normally be aware of whom the instructed bond attorney is, the bank will usually inform the bond attorney of who is attending to the transfer. The bond attorney will then first make contact with the transferring attorney.

Obtaining the various certificates, receipts and consents applicable to the transaction in question also takes time. Examples of these are rates clearance certificate, transfer duty receipt, homeowners association’s consent to the transfer, levy clearance certificate, electrical compliance certificate and plumbing certificate.

The transfer duty receipt is obtained from the Receiver of Revenue and should be lodged with all property transactions, even if no transfer duty is payable to the Receiver of Revenue. During 2013 it took approximately seven working days from the submission of the request, until the transfer duty receipt was issued.

The rates clearance certificate is obtained from the local municipality in the area where the property in question is located. The transferring attorney will first request the municipality to inform him of the amount they require in order to issue the certificate. After receipt thereof the amount can be paid and the transferring attorney will then await the issued certificate.  The time this takes differs from municipality to municipality. In the City of Cape Town, during 2013, figures were mostly issued on the same day they were requested and the receipt was issued within approximately five working days after payment. This time frame is largely affected by whether or not the municipality works on an electronic system.

If the property is located in an area where a homeowners’ association is established, there will normally be a title deed condition in terms of which the consent of the homeowners’ association must be obtained prior to the transfer. The time it takes for obtaining this certificate differs from one homeowners’ association to the other.

After an inspection by a plumber or electrician it may be found that certain work needs to be carried out before the certificates will be issued. If the work that must be carried out is extensive this can cause major delays with the transaction.

If the property is being sold by an executor of a deceased estate, the consent of the Master of the High Court must first be obtained before the property can be transferred. Major delays can be experienced if the Master of the High Court refuses to give such consent until certain requirements have been met.

Once the transferring attorney is satisfied that all relevant documents are in place he will arrange simultaneous lodgement at the Deeds Office by all attorneys involved in the transaction.  It is therefore vital that the bond attorney has by this time obtained the required approval to lodge from the mortgagee and that the bond cancellation attorney has the required consents in place to cancel the existing bond/s on the property.

Once all the documents are lodged at the Deeds Office, an internal process is followed, which has different time frames in the various Deeds Offices. This time frame can also vary in a particular Deeds Office. It is best to enquire from your conveyancer what the Deeds Office time frame is at any given stage.

The list of possible delays in a transaction varies from one transaction to the other and the possibilities are endless. It is advisable to contact your conveyancer for an explanation should you feel that the process is taking too long.

References: Aktebesorging, UNISA 2004, Department Private Law, Ramwell, Brink & West

Compiled by Riëtte Nel

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.

Hoe om jou skuld te bestuur

A1Alecia het groot finansiële probleme gehad; sy het te veel skuld gehad en haar uitgawes het haar inkomste oorskry. Sy het besluit om ‘n nuwe bankrekening oop te maak waarin haar salaris betaal kon word, wat sou verseker dat sy haar salaris kan bestuur voor haar maandelikse debietorders afgaan.

Alecia het gedink dit sou ‘n goeie plan wees om eers die klein skuld af te betaal en dan te begin met die groter skuld. Ongelukkig het dit veroorsaak dat daar geen betalings gemaak is op haar huislening en kredietkaart nie en die bank het gedreig om haar op die swartlys te plaas en haar ‘n dagvaarding te stuur. Die bank het toe ‘n aansoek in die hof gebring vir ‘n bevel wat dit verpligtend maak vir haar om die verskuldigde bedrag te betaal; hierdie bevel word ‘n Besoldigingbeslagleggingsbevel genoem. So ‘n bevel word kragtens a. 65J van die Wet op Landdroshowe  Wet 32 ​​van 1944 toegestaan en beveel ‘n werkgewer (genoem die beslagskuldenaar) om aftrekkings van ‘n skuldenaar se salaris of lone te maak en hierdie bedrae aan die skuldeiser of sy/haar prokureurs oor te betaal. Hierdie bedrae was veel groter as wat Alecia kon bekostig en dit het haar gelaat met geen inkomste vir die res van haar maandelikse skuldverpligtinge nie. Dit het haar in ‘n erger finansiële posisie as voorheen geplaas.

As Alecia vroeër geweet het van skuldberading sou sy nie in die posisie wees waarin sy haar nou bevind het nie. Dit is belangrik om mense voor te lig oor skuldberading, veral in ‘n land waar skuld  so maklik gemaak kan word maar so moeilik is om terug te betaal. Skuldberading is ‘n proses om verbruikers wat skuldprobleme ervaar en sukkel om hul maandelikse verpligtinge na te kom, te help deur die verskaffing van begrotingsadvies, herstrukturering van betalings, onderhandeling namens hulle met kredietverskaffers, monitering van hul betalings, en die verskaffing van nasorgdiens.

Dit is die Skuldberader [wat by die die Nasionale Kredietreguleerder (NKR)  geregistreer is] se taak om te bepaal of die verbruiker se skuldlas te groot is deur inkomste en uitgawes te weeg en dan statutêre en nie-statutêre aftrekkings asook bestaande maandelikse skuldbetalings in berekening te bring. Indien die berekening ‘n negatiewe balans toon word die verbruiker oorverskuldig verklaar. Die skuldberader maak ‘n voorstel wat die skuldbetalings verlaag en die betalingkaskades  (die getal maande waarbinne die die skuld, insluitend rente, afbetaal moet word) verhoog, om die verbruiker in staat te stel om sy/haar skuld te bestuur en tegelykertyd af te betaal. ‘n Bevel word dan deur die hof toegestaan ​​en aan die kredietverskaffers gestuur en die verbruiker kan dan nie meer enige nuwe skuld aangaan nie. Sodra die skuld afbetaal is word die verbruiker van ‘n klaringsertifikaat voorsien en kan die persoon sy/haar ekstra inkomste gebruik om goedere met kontant te koop.

Ongelukkig was dit te laat vir Alecia aangesien regstappe reeds teen haar geneem was. Dieselfde geld indien ‘n beëindigingbrief gestuur word kragtens a.129 van die Nasionale Kredietwet. Dit is belangrik vir mense om te weet dat daar ‘n manier is om hul skuld te bestuur, maar hulle moet erken dat hulle in finansiële moeilikheid is voordat hulle in ‘n situasie soos Alecia geplaas word. Dit kan dalk te laat vir Alecia wees, maar hopelik sal dit nie te laat wees vir ander 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.