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Intestate Succession Act – Who is the parent in the true sense of the word?

A parent does not, in the strictest sense of the word, need to be the blood and biological parent of a child to inherit if the child dies intestate. This, Timeslive reports, was the outcome of a high court judgement in Gauteng that ruled that the grandmother, not the father, should benefit from the estate of a child that she looked after.

His estate comprised a payout from the department of health for future care as a result of negligence during his birth,

If you die without a valid will, your estate will devolve according to the Intestate Succession Act, 1987 (Act 81 of 1987(ISA). This means that your estate will be divided amongst your surviving spouse, children, parents or siblings according to a set formula.

In this case, there was a dispute over who should inherit a substantial estate, about R15m, of a child who had cerebral palsy and died aged five. The father of the child was not present at his birth, did not assume any parental responsibilities or contribute in any manner to raising him.and also had not seen him since he was six months old. His mother suffered from depression and his grandmother raised him. “Is the definition of a parent for the purpose of the ISA simply a matter of blood and biology, or is its determination a matter which in each case is to be arrived at by a consideration of what parenting, parenthood and being a parent has come to mean in our law, regard being had to the values and objectives of the constitutional dispensation which enjoys supremacy in our legal regime?” Judge Kollapen asked. The grandmother, he said, was entitled to be called a parent “in truth, in reality and in law”.

Therefore, the judge ordered the father would not share in the millions and ruled that the granny and mother to equally share in the inheritance.

Click here to read the Timeslive article.

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