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JW Fourie
JW Fourie, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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My father passed away in South Africa on 29th January 2015. The

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My father passed away in South Africa on 29th January 2015.
The reading of his Last Will & Testament was mentions myself, my sister and his life partner for the past +/- 20 years.
His life partner was to get any furniture she required, a car, and the interest on a trust fund of R500 000 that would be put in to my sister's and my name. The Will does mention once all debt is paid for.
My Dad had a CC Company which would be left to my sister and myself and his land which was in the name of the CC company.
There was a funeral policy where his partner was name beneficiary and a pension policy.
The estate is still in the process of being rounded up, and as I live in the UK I have given my sister General Power of Attorney in SA for the purposes of sorting the estate out.
Since returning to the UK since my father passed away, things have become pretty ugly between my sister and my Dad's life partner.
It has been picked up that my dad deposited R75 000 in total into his partner's bank account from the CC. Company's bank account and my sister is now thinking of starting litigation against her to
pay the money back to company. However his partner claims that it was a payment from my Dad in a personal capacity and not through the company, and that there was no loan agreement or contract that was made between them that
suggested she would have to pay it back.
My father's partner has collected most of the furniture from the house she shared with my dad and has cashed in the funeral policy that was left her.
The car that was mentioned in the last will and testament is still being paid off by the CC Company but in my Dad's name.
My questions are the following:-
1. Do we have a right to ask her to pay the money back if there was no loan agreement or contract? Is it worth going to litigation?
2. She claims she doesn't have to pay toward the funeral as even though she got the funeral, she claims that if she was involved with the funeral it would have been cheaper, however she was involved and even chose his coffin. So do we have the right to sue her for the money of the funeral? Is it worth going to ligitation?
3. Will she need to carry on with the payments of the car that was left to her or will it have to be paid off by the estate before it goes into her possession?

Hi, my name is ***** ***** I will try to assit.

In order to provide you with the most accurate answer, I may have to ask you a lot of questions. This may seem tedious and irrelevant, but trust me, there is a reason for every question. So please be patient throughout the process and if it takes a little long for me to come back to you, it is probably because I am researching your answer. I hope that is okay.

1. Was the payment made to her by your father whilst he was still alive?

2. Am I correct in saying that there is no agreement that you can prove that obligates her to pay back the money? For all intents and purposes, it looks like a gift?

3. Does the will says she must get a car, or does the will say she must get that car?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

1. Yes, he was still alive.

2. Yes, you are correct, there is no agreement that obligates her to pay it back. However the bank statement says/suggests it was to pay for her liquidation.

3. It says she must get a car, but she chose that car at the reading of the will, as it was in the best condition.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

With regards ***** ***** funeral policy, shouldn't she have to pay for the funeral out of the money she got from cashing in the policy? Even though she claims she could have done it cheaper, which is not true.

Does it say a car? Not something like 'one of my cars'?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It says "A car in my name".

Which this vehicle that she chose, is, correct?

Can it be said that the vehicle was paid by the CC as part of his remuniration for being an employee in the CC?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, that is the vehicle she chose.

The payments are coming out of the CC to his personal bank account and then gets paid from there. So no it is not a part of his remuneration.

Final question: Can I assume that he is the only member of the CC?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, he was the only member of the CC.

Sorry, just one more thing I overlooked: I assume the car is financed. Is the finance in his name, or in the name of the CC? I would assume that the finance would be in his name, since the vehicle is in his name, but I would just like to confirm.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, it's in his name.

Apologies for the late reply.

1. With regards ***** ***** obligation to pay the money back: If the payment was made to her during the lifetime of your father, whether it be from the CC or from his personal account, but there was no requirement from either the CC (as represented by your father) or your father that she must pay it back, then it is a gift and she does not have to pay it back. If there was an agreement that she must pay it back, the executor needs to prove that agreement.

2. With regard to the funeral policy: It is difficult to answer that without having regard to the wording of the policy. If she has been named a beneficiary of the policy on condition that she pay for the funeral, then she would be responsible for the funeral costs. In the absence of such an agreement, there is again, no obligation on her. I believe, however, that this can probably be settled by requesting her to pay into the estate account the amount of money that she can prove, she would have used for the funeral. With this I am not necessarily saying that you can legally enforce this. I am just making a suggestion on how it can be settled without wasting a lot of money on legal expenses by both parties.

3. With regards ***** ***** vehicle: It would seem as if a case can be made that your father personally paid for the vehicle. The payments are not made from the CC and the finance is not in the name of the CC. So, now that your father is no longer a member of the CC and since the vehicle is in his name and financed in his name, the CC no longer has an obligation to pay for the vehicle.

The outstanding loan on the vehicle is, therefore, a liability in the estate and must be paid off by the estate, whereafter she will then inherit the vehicle unencumbered

I hope I have answered all of your questions and addressed all your concerns, but if you have follow up questions before you rate, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the service, kindly rate it positively.

JW Fourie and other South Africa Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much for all of your assistance. It has been most helpful.Laughing

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your help but I do have two more questions:

My Dad's will said his partner could take any furniture she 'benodigs/requires', which she has already done.

1. There are 2 valuable paintings my Dad bought through the CC that she is claiming were gifted to her. I know this is not true. Does she have a claim to them? Surely this is considered decor and not furniture and belongs to the CC as it was bought through the company.

2. She took a bed when she came to fetch her belongings, and now also claims she wants the marital bed, which also happens to be a fixture in the house as it is made of sleeper wood. Is she entitled to the bed if she has already taken everything she 'requires'?


1. This is quite similar to the car, except that the paintings does not have to be registered anywhere. In my opinion, if these paintings are indicated as assets of the CC in the management statements of the CC or the asset register, the paintings belong to the CC. But if your father paid for the paintings through the CC and thereafter regarded the paintings as his property, I am afraid it is his personal property, bought for him by the CC. I do, however, agree with your argument that this cannot be considered as furniture.

2. There is probably not a time frame in the will, is there? Meaning, it does not state that she has to take the furniture within a month of his death and whatever she does not take, stays. I also don't know what your father meant by the word 'required', but if it was not qualified in the will, it would basically mean all the furniture she wants.

If the bed, however, cannot be removed from the home without damaging the home, it is a fixture and she would probably not be allowed to remove it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry for the late thanks.

Thanks again for all your help.

No problem Only a pleasure.