WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOUR HOUSE HAS BEEN BURNT TO THE GROUND?

There are definite steps that a homeowner will need to take if he ever has the traumatic experience of having his house burnt to the ground.

Over and above all the emotional and financial tension it causes in a person and his family, there will be several steps that a homeowner will need to take before the problems accompanying such an experience will be resolved.

The first step that needs to be taken by the homeowner is to report the matter to the nearest police station. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, by reporting the matter the homeowner will receive the necessary case number as required by most insurance companies. Secondly, the conduct of the third party may turn out to be a crime, for example, arson. Thereafter the complaint will be investigated by the police and handed over to the prosecuting authority that will decide if the third party should be prosecuted or not.

The second step is to report the matter to the insurance company together with the abovementioned case number. Thereafter the insurance company will investigate the claim and decide whether it is going to accept or reject the claim. The insurance policy will determine the ambit of the insurance company’s discretion in deciding whether to accept or reject the insured’s claim. The reason for this is that the insurance policy will determine the rights and obligations between the insurance company and the insured. If the insurance company decides to reject the insured’s claim the insured will have two further options at his disposal. The insured will be able to take the matter to the ombudsman for determination, or he may dispute the matter in a civil court based on breach of contract by the insurance company.

The third step will be to indemnify the insured if the claim is accepted by the insurance company. The amount that the insurance will pay out to the insured will once again be determined by the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. If the insurance company rejects the insured’s claim or if the insured decides not to claim from the insurance company, then the insured will be able to institute action against the third party if he can prove that the house was burned down as a result of the intentional or negligent conduct or omission by the third party or, alternatively, that the house was burned down as a result of a breach of a contractual obligation between the homeowner and the third party, had a contract been in place.

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)

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF UNMARRIED FATHERS

The rights and responsibilities of biological fathers who were not married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or birth can be uncertain. In this article we will discuss when a biological father obtains rights and responsibilities towards their child(ren).

Alissa has a 7-year-old son called Jessie. Alissa had been living with her boyfriend, Mike, for 2 years when Jessie was born. Alissa and Mike were never married and Mike left their common home when Jessie was only 1 year old. Mike makes contact with Jessie and contributes some small amounts towards his maintenance every few months. Alissa would like to know what rights and responsibilities Mike has towards Jessie.

Section 20 of the Children’s Act (“the Act”) confers parental responsibilities and rights on married fathers if they are married to the child’s mother or if they were married at either the time of the child’s conception, birth or any time between conception and birth.

The biological father of a child who does not have parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child in terms of Section 20 of the Act can acquire these responsibilities and rights if one of the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • at the time of the child’s birth he is living with the mother in a permanent life partnership; or
  • if he consents to be identified; or
  • he successfully applies in terms of Section 26 of the Act to be identified as the father; or
  • he pays damages in terms of customary law; or
  • if he contributes or has attempted in good faith to contribute to the child’s upbringing for a reasonable period; or
  • if he has contributed or attempted in good faith to contribute towards expenses in connection with the maintenance of the child for a reasonable period.[1]

It may be difficult to determine whether two persons are in a permanent life partnership or not. This term lacks a precise definition and has been described as “a stable monogamous relationship where a couple who do not wish to (or are not permitted to) marry, live together and share an intimate relationship” that is akin to marriage. The Constitutional Court has given limited recognition to the relationships labelled as “life partnerships” or “permanent life partnerships”, but no specific meaning has been attached to these terms.[2]

It is important to note that this section applies regardless of whether the child was born before or after the commencement of this Act, and that it does not affect the duty of a father to contribute towards the maintenance of the child.[3]

If there is a dispute between the biological father and the biological mother of a child with regard to the fulfillment by that father of the conditions set out above, the matter must be referred for mediation to a family advocate, social worker, social service professional or other suitably qualified person. Any party to the mediation may have the outcome of the mediation reviewed by a court.[4]

From this article we can see that the only clear responsibility of Mike is that of paying maintenance to support Jessie. Due to the fact that the definition of a permanent life partnership is so vague, Mike and Alissa should refer this matter to one of the abovementioned mediators to obtain certainty about Mike’s rights and responsibilities towards Jessie.

References:

  • The Children’s Act 38 of 2005
  • Du Bois F, Willie’s Principle of South African Law (2007), 9th ed.

[1] Section 21 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.

[2] Du Bois F, Willie’s Principle of South African Law (2007), 9th ed., p363.

[3] Section 21(2) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.

[4] Section 21(3) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.

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)

REQUIREMENTS TO RESTORE A DEREGISTERED COMPANY

There are various circumstances in which a company (or close corporation) can become deregistered at the CIPC.

  1. The company itself can apply for deregistration at the CIPC, for any number of reasons.
  2. If a company has not submitted and paid its annual returns for more than two successive years, the CIPC will inform such a company of the fact and the intention of the CIPC to deregister said company. If such a company does not take any steps to remedy the situation, the CIPC will proceed to finally deregister it.
  3. If the CIPC believes that the company has been inactive for seven or more years.

However, it is possible to restore such a company or close corporation which has been finally deregistered, but all outstanding information and annual returns (including the fees) will have to be lodged with the CIPC. An additional R200 prescribed re-instatement fee must also be paid.

Recently, the CIPC has set additional requirements to do this, which also impacts on the time, administration and cost to restore such a company. These requirements took effect from 1 November 2012.

The steps and requirements for the re-instatement process are:

  1. The proper application CoR40.5 form Application for Re-instatement of Deregistered Company must be completed and submitted, originally signed by the duly authorised person.
  2. A certified copy of the identity document of the applicant (director / member) must be submitted.
  3. A certified copy of the identity document of the person filing the application must be submitted.
  4. A Deed Search, reflecting the ownership of any immovable property (or not) by the company, must be obtained and submitted together with the application.
  5. If the company does in fact own any immovable property, a letter from National Treasury must be submitted, indicating that the department has no objection to the re-instatement of the company.
  6. Also, if the company does in fact own any immovable property, a letter from the Department of Public Works must be submitted, indicating that the department has no objection to the re-instatement of the company.
  7. An advertisement must be placed in a local newspaper where the business of the company is conducted, giving 21 days’ notice of the proposed application for re-instatement.
  8. If the deregistration was due to non-compliance with regards to annual returns, an affidavit indicating the reasons for the non-filing of annual returns must be submitted.
  9. If the company itself applied for deregistration, an affidavit indicating the reasons for the original request for deregistration must be submitted.
  10. Sufficient documentary proof indicating that the company was in business or that it had any assets or liabilities at the time of deregistration must be submitted.
  11. All outstanding annual returns must be submitted and paid, along with any penalties.

Upon compliance of all of the above requirements, the CIPC will issue a notice to the company that it is restored.

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)

DIE BENOEMING VAN ‘N EKSEKUTEUR IN MY TESTAMENT

Hierdie is ‘n onderwerp waaroor al hoe meer besprekings en argumente plaasvind en dit is ook so dat individue meer ingelig raak oor wat die fooie is waarop die Eksekuteur van ‘n boedel geregtig is en hoe die fooie bereken word.

Soos ons in vorige atikels melding gemaak het, word die maksimum vergoeding waarop ‘n Eksekuteur geregtig is deur wetgewing vasgestel. Die huidige Eksekuteursvergoeding waarop ‘n Eksekuteur geregtig is, beloop tans 3.5% van die bruto boedelwaarde plus 14% BTW (indien die Eksekuteur natuurlik vir BTW geregistreer is).

Op die oog af blyk dit dat die vergoeding teen ‘n billike of selfs baie lae persentasie gehef word, maar kom ons illustreer dit met ‘n voorbeeld:

Kom ons veronderstel die bruto boedelwaarde beloop R2 miljoen. Neem kennis dat weens die drastiese stygings in die waarde van onroerende eiendomme oor die laaste paar jare, ‘n boedel met ‘n bruto waarde van R2 miljoen maklik haalbaar en baie realisties is indien u onroerende eiendom besit.

R2 miljoen x 3.5% = R70 000-00

Plus 14% BTW = R9 800-00

Totale Eksekuteursvergoeding = R79 800-00

Laasgenoemde Eksekuteursvergoeding sluit nie enige ander administrasiekostes bv. oordragkostes van die onroerende eiendom of begrafniskostes in nie. Dit is dus duidelik dat kostes om die administrasie van ‘n boedel met ‘n waarde van R2 miljoen af te handel maklik meer as R100 000 kan beloop. Die gevolg is dat individue al hoe meer oorweging daaraan gee om die langslewende of ‘n ander familielid as Eksekuteur te benoem, met die veronderstelling dat die genomineerde Eksekuteur dan in ‘n posisie geplaas word om die Eksekuteursvergoeding met ‘n instelling te onderhandel, wat dan as die genomineerde Eksekuteur se agent sal optree.

Dit gebeur egter dat die genomineerde Eksekuteur (bv. die langslewende gade) nie deeglik ingelig word oor wat hy/sy te doen staan indien sy/haar gade te sterwe sou kom nie en gevolglik stel hy/sy die eerste agent aan wat sy/haar dienste aanbied, geen onderhandeling vind plaas nie en die agent hef dus maar nog steeds die volle tarief wat deur wetgewing vasgestel word.

Ons aanbeveling is dus die volgende:

  1. Benoem die langslewende of ‘n ander familielid as Eksekuteur van jou boedel, maar maak seker dat die benoemde Eksekuteur deeglik kennis dra dat hy/sy die Eksekuteursvergoeding met ‘n instelling kan onderhandel; of

2. Indien jy voldoende vertroue in ‘n instelling het, benoem die instelling as Eksekuteur van jou boedel, maar onderhandel die Eksekuteursvergoeding voortydig en maak die ooreengekome tarief in die testament vas. Moet dit dus nie aan iemand anders oorlaat om na jou afsterwe oor Eksekuteursfoooie te onderhandel 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. (E&OE)