Validity of Antenuptial Contracts

JanB04One must be careful when drafting and signing an Antenuptial Contract. Aside from ensuring that the contents is all correct, one must also ensure that all the necessary provisions are contained therein to make the contract valid. The consequences of neglecting to do so may result in a marriage in community of property even though the parties had no intention of this at the time of their marriage.

Attorneys are often trusted with the task of drafting an Antenuptial Contract. This is a contract, which one signs to regulate the property regime of a marriage. If a couple does not sign, an Antenuptial Contract then the marital property regime will be that of in community of property. The presence of an Antenuptial Contract means that the marital property regime is that of out of community of property and the parties must specifically stipulate whether they would like the accrual system to apply to their marriage or not.

The importance of ensuring that all the necessary provisions are contained in the Antenuptial Contract to result in a valid contract was discussed in the 2014 Supreme Court of Appeal Case of B v B[1]. In this case, no values were stated in respect of any of the assets listed in the Antenuptial Contract and they were also not properly identified. In B v B the court stated that if the terms of a contract are so vague and incoherent as to be incapable of a sensible construction then the contract must be regarded as void for vagueness.[2]

According to Section 6(1) of the Matrimonial Property Act[3] ,a party to an intended marriage which does not, for the purpose of proof of the value of his or her estate at the time of the commencement of the marriage, declare the value in the contract, then he or she may do so within six months of the marriage in a statement attested to by a notary. If this is not done, according to Section 6(4) of the Marital Property Act, the net value of the estate of a spouse is then deemed to be nil at the time of the marriage. In effect, such a contract is valid but it will effectively render the marriage in community of property since nothing was excluded from the accrual.

However, if a contract is contradictory and incoherent in other respects then it cannot be seen as a valid contract since there is no certainty as to the meaning of the contract and what the parties seek to achieve. This means that the contract would not embody terms that would enable to court to give effect to the intention of the parties at the time the contract was concluded.

The result of such a contract is that the Antenuptial Contract would be void for vagueness and that the marital property regime would be the default position according to the Marital Property Act, which is in community of property.

Therefore, parties are encouraged to read their contracts thoroughly and ensure that they understand the terms thereof and that the contract embodies their intentions without any further explanations or evidence.

[1] (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 March 2014).

[2] B v B (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 March 2014) par 7.

[3] 88 of 1984.

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. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Dealing with marriage and estate planning

The most important forms of marriage are: marriage in community of property, marriage out of community of property (without accrual), and marriage out of community of property (with accrual).

Marriage in community of property

  1. There is no prior contractual arrangement, apart from getting married;
  2. Spouses do not have two distinct estates;
  3. There is a joint estate, with each spouse having a 50% share in each and every asset in the estate (no matter in whose name it is registered);
  4. Applies to assets acquired before the marriage and during the marriage;
  5. Should one spouse incur debts in his own name it will automatically bind his/her spouse, who will also become liable for the debt;
  6. If a sequestration takes place (in the case of insolvency), the joint estate is sequestrated.

Marriage out of community of property without the accrual system

  1. An antenuptial contract (ANC) is drawn up by an attorney (who is registered as a notary), before the marriage;
  2. Where there is no contract, the marriage is automatically in community of property;
  3. The values of each spouse’s estate on going into the marriage are stipulated in the contract;
  4. A marriage by ANC means that all property owned by spouses before the date of the marriage will remain the sole property of each spouse;
  5. Each spouse controls his/her own estate exclusively without interference from the other spouse, although each has a duty to contribute to the household expenses according to his/her means;
  6. To allow for assets acquired by spouses during the marriage to remain the sole property of each spouse, the accrual system must be specifically excluded in the ANC.

Marriage out of community of property with the accrual system

  1. The accrual system automatically applies unless expressly excluded in the antenuptial contract;
  2. The accrual system addresses the question of the growth of each spouse’s estate after the date of marriage.

ESTATE PLANNING

Donations between spouses are exempt from donations tax and estate duty.

Marriage in community of property

  1. In the event of the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse will have a claim for 50% of the value of the combined estate, thus reducing the actual value of the estate by 50%. The estate is divided after all the debts have been settled in a deceased estate (not including burial costs and estate duty, as these are the sole obligations of the deceased and not the joint estate).
  2. When drafting a Last Will and Testament, spouses married in community of property need to be aware that it is only half of any asset that he or she is able to bequeath.
  3. Upon the death of one spouse, all banking accounts are frozen (even if they are in the name of one of the spouses), which could affect liquidity.
  4. Donations or bequests to someone married in community of property can be made to exclude the community of property; in other words, if the donor stipulates that the donation must not fall into the joint estate, then the donee can build up a separate estate. However, returns on such separate assets will go back to the joint estate.

Marriage out of community of property without the accrual system

Each estate planner (spouse) retains possession of assets owned prior to the marriage.

Marriage out of community of property with the accrual system

A donation from one spouse to the other spouse is excluded from the calculation of each spouse’s accrual; in other words, the recipient does not include it in his growth and the donor’s accrual is automatically reduced by the donation amount.

DIVORCE

In the event of divorce, the marriage will be dissolved by court decree, which will address such aspects as child maintenance, access, guardianship and custody, spousal maintenance, the division of assets, division of pension interests and so on.

COHABITATION AND DEFINITION OF “SPOUSE”

Cohabitation is defined as a stable, monogamous relationship where a couple who do not wish to or cannot get married, live together as spouses. The Taxation Laws Amendment Act has extended the definition of “spouses” to include “a same sex or heterosexual union which the Commissioner is satisfied is intended to be permanent”.

Many pieces of legislation, including the Pension Funds Amendment Act and the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, now define spouse to include a partner in a cohabitative relationship, the effects of which are that cohabitees will benefit from the Section 4(q) estate duty deduction in the Estate Duty Act, and the donations tax exemptions of the Income Tax Act.

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.

Hantering van die huwelik en boedelbeplanning

Die belangrikste vorme van huweliksgoedere-bedeling is die huwelik binne gemeenskap van goedere, die huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere met die uitsluiting van die aanwasbedeling, en die huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere met die insluiting van die aanwasbedeling.

Huwelik binne gemeenskap van goedere

  1. Daar is geen vooraf kontraktuele ooreenkoms nie, afgesien van trou;
  2. Gades het nie twee afsonderlike boedels nie;
  3. Daar is ‘n gemeenskaplike boedel en elke gade het ‘n aandeel van 50% in elke bate in die boedel, ongeag in wie se naam dit geregistreer is;
  4. Dit geld vir die bates verkry voor die huwelik asook tydens die huwelik;
  5. Indien een gade skuld aangaan in sy/haar eie naam, sal sy/haar gade outomaties daardeur gebind word en ook aanspreeklik gehou word vir die skuld;
  6. Indien ‘n sekwestrasie plaasvind (in die geval van insolvensie), sal die gemeenskaplike boedel gesekwestreer word.

Huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere met die uitsluiting van die aanwasbedeling

  1. ‘n Notariële huweliksvoorwaardekontrak (HVK) word voor die sluiting van die huwelik opgestel deur ‘n prokureur (wat geregistreer is as ‘n notaris);
  2. Indien daar geen kontrak bestaan nie, sal die huweliksbedeling outomaties binne gemeenskap van goedere wees;
  3. Die waardes van elke gade se boedel by huweliksluiting word in hierdie kontrak vervat;
  4. ‘n Huwelik met ‘n HVK beteken dat al die eiendom wat deur die gades besit word voor die datum van huweliksluiting, die eiendom van die betrokke gade sal bly;
  5. Elke gade het volle beskikkingsreg oor sy/haar eie bates (met ander woorde sonder vooraftoestemming van die ander), alhoewel daar ‘n plig rus op elke gade om volgens sy/haar vermoë by te dra tot die gesamentlike huishoudelike uitgawes;
  6. Bates verkry in die loop van die huwelik sal slegs die uitsluitlike eiendom van een gade bly indien die aanwasbedeling uitdruklik deur die gades uitgesluit word.

Huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere met die insluiting van die aanwasbedeling

  1. Die huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere sluit outomaties die aanwasbedeling in, tensy dit uitdruklik deur die gades in die HVK uitgesluit word;
  2. Eers met ontbinding van die huwelik tree die aanwasbedeling in werking en moet groei van elke gade se boedel vasgestel word.

BOEDELBEPLANNING

Skenkings tussen gades is vrygestel van skenkingsbelasting asook boedelbelasting.

Huwelik binne gemeenskap van goedere

  1. In die geval van die dood van ‘n eggenoot het die langslewende gade ‘n eis vir 50% van die waarde van die gesamentlike boedel en word die werklike waarde van die boedel derhalwe verminder met 50%. Die boedel word eers verdeel nadat al die skuld vereffen is (begrafniskoste en boedelbelasting word hierby uitgesluit, aangesien die oorledene en nie die gemeenskaplike boedel nie, hiervoor aanspreeklik is).
  2. By die opstel van ‘n testament is dit belangrik dat gades wat getroud is binne gemeenskap van goedere, bewus moet wees daarvan dat hy/sy slegs die helfte van ‘n bate bemaak.
  3. By die dood van ‘n eggenoot word alle bankrekenings gevries (selfs al is die rekenings slegs in een van die gades se naam). Dit kan ‘n invloed hê op likiditeit.
  4. Skenkings of erflatings aan iemand getroud binne gemeenskap van goedere kan ook uitgesluit word van die gemeenskaplike boedel. Die skenker kan met ander woorde bepaal dat die skenking nie binne die gemeenskaplike boedel moet val nie. Die ontvanger daarvan sal dan ‘n afsonderlike    boedel kan opbou maar die opbrengs van sodanige afsonderlike bates sal weer binne die        gesamentlike boedel val.

Huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere met die uitsluiting van die aanwasbedeling

Elke boedelbeplanner (gade) behou besit van bates wat voor die huwelik verkry is.

Huwelik buite gemeenskap van goedere met die insluiting van die aanwasbedeling

‘n Skenking van een gade aan die ander gade word uitgesluit by die berekening van elke gade se             aanwas. Die ontvanger van die geskenk kan dit met ander woorde nie in berekening bring             wanneer die groei van sy/haar aanwas vasgestel word nie en die skenker se aanwas word             outomaties verminder met die skenkingsbedrag.

EGSKEIDING

In die geval van egskeiding word die huwelik ontbind deur ‘n hofbeslissing en sal die hof dan aspekte soos onderhoud vir ‘n kind, kontak (toegang), voogdyskap en sorg (toesig), onderhoud vir die gade, die verdeling van bates, verdeling van pensioenbelange, ensovoorts bepaal.

SAAMWOON EN DIE DEFINISIE VAN ‘GADE’

“Saamwoon” word gedefinieer as ‘n stabiele, vaste verhouding waar ‘n paartjie wat nie wil of kan trou nie, saamleef as gades. Die Wysigingswet op Belastingwet het die definisie van “gades” uitgebrei deur ook in te sluit “a same sex or heterosexual union which the Commissioner is satisfied is intended to be permanent”.

Verskeie stukke wetgewing soos die Wysigingswet op Pensioenfondse en Wysigingswet op die Belastingwet, definieer “gade” om ook ‘n lewensmaat in ‘n saamwoonverhouding, in te sluit. Die effek is  dat saamwoon-lewensmaats voordeel trek uit die artikel 4(q)-boedelbelastingaftrekking soos bepaal in die Boedelbelastingwet, en die skenkingsbelastingvrystelling van die Inkomstebelastingwet.

Hierdie artikel is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet nie gebruik of staatgemaak word op as professionele advies nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of vir enige verlies of skade wat voortspruit uit vertroue op enige inligting hierin nie. Kontak atyd jou finansiële adviseur vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies.

Geldigheid van ʼn huweliksvoorwaardekontrak

Die opstel en ondertekening van ʼn huweliksvoorwaardekontrak moet versigtig benader word. Benewens die feit dat die inhoud feitelik korrek moet wees, moet al die nodige bepalings daarin vervat word om die kontrak geldig te maak. Indien daar versuim om ʼn huweliksvoorwaardekontrak op te stel, mag dit lei daartoe dat ʼn huwelik as binne gemeenskap van goedere beskou word, selfs al was dit nie die partye se bedoeling toe die kontrak gesluit was nie.

Prokureurs en Notarisse word vertrou met die opstelling van ʼn huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak. Dit is ‘n kontrak wat deur die betrokke partye onderteken word om die huweliksbedeling te reguleer. As ‘n paartjie nie ‘n huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak teken nie, sal die huweliksbedeling binne gemeenskap van goedere wees. ʼn Huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak wys daarop dat die huweliksbedeling buite gemeenskap van goedere is. Die partye moet dus spesifiek stipuleer of hulle die aanwasbedeling op hul huwelik van toepassing wil hê al dan nie.

Die saak van B v B, soos in die Appèlhof voorgekom,  bespreek die belang van die nodige bepalings in ʼn huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak wat tot die sluit van ‘n geldige kontrak lei. In hierdie geval was daar geen bepalings gestipuleer ten opsigte van enige van die bates wat in die huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak uiteengesit is nie. Die bates was ook behoorlik geïdentifiseer nie. In B v B het die hof gestel dat indien die bepalings van ‘n kontrak so vaag en onsamehangend is, en dit onmoontlik is om ‘n sinvolle konstruksie daarvan te maak, moet die kontrak as nietig beskou word as gevolg van vaagheid.

Ingevolge artikel 6(1) van die Wet op Huweliksgoedere kan ‘n party tot ‘n voorgenome huwelik, wat nie die waarde in die kontrak uiteensit vir die doel om ʼn bewys te lewer van die bates van sy of haar boedel teen die tyd van die aanvang van die huwelik nie, dit binne ses maande van die sluiting van die huwelik in ‘n verklaring bevestig met behulp van ’n notaris. Ingevolge artikel 6 (4) van die Wet op Huweliksgoedere word die netto waarde van die boedel van ‘n gade as nul geag ten tye van die huwelik, indien die betrokke party nie die bewys betyds lewer nie. In effek is so ‘n kontrak geldig, maar dit sal beteken dat ʼn huwelik as binne gemeenskap van goederebeskou, aangesien daar niks van die oploping uitgesluit is nie.

As ‘n kontrak egter teenstrydig en onsamehangend is in ander opsigte, kan dit nie as ‘n geldige kontrak nie beskou word nie, aangesien daar geen sekerheid is oor die betekenis van die kontrak en wat die partye beoog om te bereik nie. Dit beteken dat die kontrak nie die Hof in staat stel om uitvoering te gee aan die bedoeling van die partye ten die tye van die sluiting van die kontrak nie.

Die gevolg van so ‘n kontrak is dat die huweliksvoorwaardeskontrak nietig verklaar sal word as gevolg van onsamehangendheid en dat die huweliksbedeling ingevolge die Wet op Huweliksgoedere in gemeenskap van goedere sal wees.

Partye word dus aangemoedig om hul huwelikskontrakte deeglik te lees en seker te maak dat hulle die bepalings daarvan verstaan en dat die kontrak hul bedoelings uitbeeld, sonder enige verdere verduidelikings of bewyse.

B v B (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 Maart 2014)

Wet op Huweliksgoedere 88 van 1984

Hierdie artikel is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet nie gebruik of staatgemaak word op as professionele advies nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of vir enige verlies of skade wat voortspruit uit vertroue op enige inligting hierin nie. Kontak atyd jou finansiële adviseur vir spesifieke en gedetailleerde advies.

Validity of Antenuptial Contracts

One must be careful when drafting and signing an Antenuptial Contract. Aside from ensuring that the contents is all correct, one must also ensure that all the necessary provisions are contained therein to make the contract valid. The consequences of neglecting to do so may result in a marriage in community of property even though the parties had no intention of this at the time of their marriage.

Attorneys are often trusted with the task of drafting an Antenuptial Contract. This is a contract, which one signs to regulate the property regime of a marriage. If a couple does not sign, an Antenuptial Contract then the marital property regime will be that of in community of property. The presence of an Antenuptial Contract means that the marital property regime is that of out of community of property and the parties must specifically stipulate whether they would like the accrual system to apply to their marriage or not.

The importance of ensuring that all the necessary provisions are contained in the Antenuptial Contract to result in a valid contract was discussed in the 2014 Supreme Court of Appeal Case of B v B[1]. In this case, no values were stated in respect of any of the assets listed in the Antenuptial Contract and they were also not properly identified. In B v B the court stated that if the terms of a contract are so vague and incoherent as to be incapable of a sensible construction then the contract must be regarded as void for vagueness.[2]

According to Section 6(1) of the Matrimonial Property Act[3] ,a party to an intended marriage which does not, for the purpose of proof of the value of his or her estate at the time of the commencement of the marriage, declare the value in the contract, then he or she may do so within six months of the marriage in a statement attested to by a notary. If this is not done, according to Section 6(4) of the Marital Property Act, the net value of the estate of a spouse is then deemed to be nil at the time of the marriage. In effect, such a contract is valid but it will effectively render the marriage in community of property since nothing was excluded from the accrual.

However, if a contract is contradictory and incoherent in other respects then it cannot be seen as a valid contract since there is no certainty as to the meaning of the contract and what the parties seek to achieve. This means that the contract would not embody terms that would enable to court to give effect to the intention of the parties at the time the contract was concluded.

The result of such a contract is that the Antenuptial Contract would be void for vagueness and that the marital property regime would be the default position according to the Marital Property Act, which is in community of property.

Therefore, parties are encouraged to read their contracts thoroughly and ensure that they understand the terms thereof and that the contract embodies their intentions without any further explanations or evidence.

[1] (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 March 2014).

[2] B v B (952/12) [2014] ZASCA 14 (24 March 2014) par 7.

[3] 88 of 1984.

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.