Understand the implications of your marital dispensation

Marriage is not a business transaction, but as in the case of any other transaction, there are certain administrative tasks that need to be done beforehand and other decisions that have to be made.

The first important decision concerns the form the marriage is to take. Will it be in or out of community of property? There are a number of advantages and disadvantages that can be weighed up.

If the marriage is in accordance with South African law and no antenuptial contract is entered into, the marriage will be in community of property. This means that, except in special cases, both partners will share equally in each other's assets and liabilities.

Many prospective couples could rightly argue that they do not own many assets at present and that it won't matter if they are married in community of property.

Many couples who have been married for a long time will confirm this, but will regret not being married out of community of property for business reasons and the protection of assets. Many couples do not know what their future holds with regard to businesses they may want to start.

One of the main advantages of a marriage out of community of property is that if one of the spouses operates a business and creditors wish to take possession of assets to settle debts, the assets of only that spouse will be involved if the other spouse did not stand surety.

Antenuptial contracts can be concluded with or without the accrual dispensation. An expert should be consulted in this regard. The contract must be drawn up by an attorney (notary) and all documents must be completed and signed before the marriage ceremony. The average cost amounts to approximately R1 600.00.

Other important administrative matters include the drawing up of a will. If one or both of the partners already have a valid will and/or policies with beneficiaries that need to be changed, it is important to attend to this as a matter of urgency, otherwise the will and/or policies will remain in force. Changes to medical and pension funds are also important.

Financial planning with regard to, among others, bank affairs and the reviewing of long- and short-term insurance, is also recommended.

Copyright Sanlamm Trust

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