Welcome to Scorpion’s Legal Tips! Every week we’ll share stories of injustice
and show you how you can strike back legally.
*Nokubonga’s father passed away in 2015, leaving behind his two wives and their children (one child from his first wife, and Nokubonga and her brother from his second wife). When they tried to sort out their father’s estate, Nokubonga’s father’s first wife said she would handle matters on her own, she didn’t want them involved. They never saw a cent of their father’s estate.
In 2016, Nokubonga’s father’s first wife also passed away, and their brother from the first wife claimed he was the sole heir of the inheritance. Everything that belonged to their father belonged to him now, he said, and only he would decide if he felt like sharing anything with them or not.
Nokubonga and her brother were heartbroken over their father’s death, and now they had to deal with family drama too. Eish. What can they do?
Scorpion Legal Protection’s advice
Inheritance, and who gets what, is determined by a person’s will. If their father died leaving a valid will, then his estate must devolve (be divided up) in terms of this will. If their father died without leaving a valid will, the estate will devolve in terms of the rules of intestate succession, as stipulated in the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987.
According to the Intestate Succession Act, a spouse is any party to a valid marriage. If the deceased is survived by spouses (his two wives) as well as descendants (his children – Nokubonga, her brother and their father’s son from his first wife), each will inherit a specific portion of the estate.
A child’s share is worked out by dividing the monetary value of the estate by the amount of children surviving the deceased plus 1 for each surviving spouse. Nokubonga’s father’s estate will therefore be divided by 5 – Nokubonga, her brother, their brother from the first wife and both of their father’s wives, as the first wife was alive when the father passed.
Each wife will inherit R250 000, or a child’s share – whichever amount is bigger. What’s left of the estate will be divided equally between the children.
For example, let’s say Nokubonga’s father’s estate is worth R750 000.
In Nokubonga’s case, her father’s estate will be divided between all 5 of them. Since his first wife has died, her son will inherit his portion plus his mother’s portion (R333 333.33). Nokubonga’s mother (the second wife) will inherit R250 000. Nokubonga and her brother will each inherit R83 333,33.
Their brother from the first marriage cannot decide on the inheritance, and who gets what. Nokubonga and her brother can lodge a complaint with the Master of the High Court to get their inheritance.
Scorpion members have access to our 24-hour Legal Contact Centre and can call us anytime, anywhere for legal advice and assistance. They have peace of mind that, when trouble strikes, they’ve got access to lawyers to represent them in court and help them strike back legally.*
* Terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions apply (click here to view the Legal Policy Document). This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. Names have been changed to protect identity.