The Constitutional Court handed down a landmark ruling on Thursday which sheds light on the legal rights of same-sex couples when one partner dies.
The ConCourt found that when a partner in a same-sex permanent partnership dies, the surviving one (even if they aren't legally married) inherits the deceased's intestate estate.
The court handed down a finding that the surviving partner in a permanent same-sex relationship should inherit the estate.
Eric Jordaan, wills expert from Crue Invest, joins Pippa Hudson on the line.
Wills expert Eric Jordaan explains that intestate estate refers to when someone dies without having drawn up a will.
In the case, the court had to rule on whether the brother of a deceased should inherit, or his long-term same sex partner with whom he had lived since 2003.
Even though they were not legally married and there was no will left behind, the court ruled in favour of the partner.
Jordaan advises that the Intestate Succession Act is a 'fall-back' legislation to make sure that there are contingencies for after someone passes away without leaving a will.
The state takes into account the spouse, children and other next of kin before dividing portions of the estate.
The case sets a precedent that permanent same-sex qualify as a 'spouse' in terms of Intestate Succession Act, even if they haven't gotten married in terms of the Civil Union Act.
He says it is an important judgment that provides greater clarity on the legal rights and recognition of same-sex couples.
It's quite a significant judgement and it brings about more certainty.— Eric Jordaan, legal advisor and wills expert at Crue Invest
At the same time, Jordaan encourages all people to draft valid wills to ensure that their estate is divided according to their wishes, instead of state law.
Take a listen to Eric Jordaan break it down here: