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Nomvula* and her family were sad when her father passed. A month before he passed, he told Nomvula that he was leaving the family home to her. He left behind a will detailing how his assets were to be distributed so that managing his estate would be easier. But Nomvula’s brother has the will, and is refusing to show it to her or give it to her so that she can claim what is rightfully hers. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! She’s asked him over and over again, but he refuses to give it to her, and has taken possession of all her late father’s assets in the meantime. What can she do?
The South African law of succession sets out the rules which determine the distribution of a person's estate after his death. It identifies the beneficiaries who are entitled to assets in terms of the deceased's estate, and the extent of the benefits they are to receive, and determines the different rights and duties that persons (for example, beneficiaries and creditors) may have to a deceased's estate.
Without the will though, the estate cannot be dissolved. Nomvula can go to the Master's Office at the High Court, and indicate that there is a will and who is in possession of the will. The Master will then summon this person.
Alternatively, she can lodge an application at the High Court to compel the person who is in possession of the will to provide it to her. This is an expensive option though.
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* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. Names have been changed to protect identity.
Date added: 13 January 2019
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