What happens if I die without a will?

An obvious starting point in our first of a new series of Trusts and Estates Alerts, is to consider the importance of having a well-constructed, valid Will.    

If you, at the time of your death, have no Will, or your Will is invalid or does not deal with your entire estate, you are said to have died intestate. It is estimated that more than 50% of South Africans die intestate every year

Despite the horror stories, if you die without a Will, your assets are not forfeited to the state, however the distribution thereof is regulated by statute as opposed to your own directions, as you would have set out in your Will.

The relevant Act that regulates the devolution of your assets should you die without a Will is known as the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987.

The Act sets out a fixed formula that is applied to determine who inherits your estate and in what proportion.

The Act is based on – excluding benefits to a spouse – a system of passing benefits to the blood family of the deceased. The general principle being that those family members closest to the deceased in terms of the bloodline, stand to inherit first.

So for example, if the deceased is married, but does not have children, the spouse will inherit the entire estate. 

If however the deceased does not have a spouse at the time of his death, but has children, the children will inherit the entire estate in equal share.

via What happens if I die without a will? – Lexology

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Department of Social Development

Vision 

A caring and integrated system of social development services that facilitates human development and improves the quality of life.

Mission

To enable the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded within South African society to secure a better life for themselves, in partnership with them and with all those who are committed to building a caring society.

Values

The people we serve come first in performing our duties. We will ensure equity and freedom from discrimination and harassment in the workplace and in the services provided by our department. We will workin partnership with the people we serve and with other stakeholders. We will use the resources entrusted to us, to deliver on the Governmen’s priorities in the most effient, effective and innovative ways. Ww will be transparent and accountable for our decisions, actions and performance. We will share our knowledge and expertise with other departments and broader welfare sector and learn from them.In performing our duties, we will uphold the Constitution of the republic of South Africa, the laws governing the public service and the Code of Conduct for the Public Service.  

via Department of Social Development – Vision, Mission and Values

South African Post Office – SAPO

The South African Post Office Group currently consist of a number of divisions and subsidiaries operating in the fields of mail, financial services, logistics, property, electronic commerce and retail services. Traditional collection, sorting and delivery of letters and parcels constitute the primary business activity of the group, responsible for nearly 65% of the groups revenue in 2010/12. In the 2010/11 financial year nearly 1,5 billion mail pieces were processed. In order to process and distribute this volume of mail items the group operates 6 large mail centers and more than 40 depots across the republic. The group has, however, suffered a decline in traditional mail volumes over the last 3 years. This decline is in line with similar declines experienced by the majority of postal operators across the world as traditional mail as a communication medium is substituted by electronic alternatives such as email and more recently cell phones.

The second largest activity of the group is financial services which it offers through its savings banks that operates under the name Postbank. The Postbank itself was formed in 1910 and is the largest savings bank in the country. More than 6 million customers have accounts with Postbank making it one of the largest banks in South Africa as measured by customer number. The Postbank is a deposit taking institution only, and thus does not offer credit products, only savings and investment products.

via South African Post Office – Wikipedia

SARS employees might abuse their position

COLIN WOLFSOHN: Look, their whole principle of separating and making our ordinary Tax Act simpler, without these administrative provisions, is very good, no question about it. We understand where SARS is coming from in terms of cases of genuine crooks or people, as we say, like an Enron kind of case. We are concerned on a practical basis though, whether all these provisions…because this Act is written in the basis where everything is perfect and we’ve seen, unfortunately, cases in the past where you might have SARS employees who don’t interpret these legislations pieces totally accurately and, if I can use the wrong wording, might abuse their position. That kind of situation concerns us but hopefully with proper training of SARS officials that things will improve. 

via What the new Tax Administration Bill covers – Tax | Moneyweb

We have had instances where SARS employees have abused their position and unfairly interpreted the VAT Act to the total and unnecessary disadvantage of the taxpayer. Arrogant and unprofessional behaviour like that should never have been allowed to take place. It echoes the harshness and intolerance of Apartheid racism.

You cannot just say what you like on the Internet

Free speech on the Internet can have consequences

Free speech on the Internet can have consequences

Taipei – A Taiwanese woman was ordered to compensate a noodle shop Tw$200 000 ($7 000) for defamation after criticising the store as unclean and its food as “really bad” on her blog, a court said on Friday.

Liu Ying-hui escaped a 30-day jail term, with the high court deciding to grant her a two-year suspended sentence after she agreed to compensate the shop, according to the verdict released by the court.

Liu was convicted of defaming the shop in February for commenting on her blog in 2009 that its food was “really bad… too salty” while the owner was a “bully” and the stop was “unclean with cockroaches”, the verdict said.

A district court in central Taiwan ruled that her remarks “crossed the boundary of an appropriate review” since she had failed to prove her allegations.

It was the latest of a number of controversial rulings involving Internet commentaries, after a teacher was ordered to pay her dentist Tw$1.5m for calling him a “rat’s dropping” in March, according to local media.

– SAPA

via Blogger fined over bad review: News24: Sci-Tech: News