Maintenance of surviving spouse

  • Post category:General

The idea of freedom of testation is a core value of South African law and enjoys wide protection. The Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act, 27 of 1990, was drafted to give a spouse legal recourse if disinherited or negatively affected by the wishes of the testator, or in the case of intestate succession. The goal of this piece of legislation is to ensure a person is not left destitute after the death of their spouse.

Who can claim?

The definition of the Act describes a surviving spouse as follows:

survivor means the surviving spouse in a marriage dissolved by death.”

What can be claimed? 

Section 2(1) of the Act determines as follows:

“If a marriage is dissolved by death after the commencement of this Act the survivor shall have a claim against the estate of the deceased spouse for the provision of her reasonable maintenance needs until her death or remarriage in so far as she is not able to provide therefor from her own means and earnings.

What is the definition of own means?

“own means” include any money or property or other financial benefit accruing to the survivor in terms of the matrimonial property law or the law of succession or otherwise at the death of the deceased spouse.”

What is reasonable maintenance means?

Section 3 of the Act determines as follows:

“Determination of reasonable maintenance needs – In the determination of the reasonable maintenance needs of the survivor, the following factors shall be taken into account in addition to any other factor which should be taken into account:

  • The amount of the estate of the deceased spouse available for distribution to heirs and legatees;
  • The existing and expected means, earning capacity, financial needs and obligations of the survivor and the subsistence of the marriage; and
  • The standard of living of the survivor during the subsistence of the marriage and age at the death of the deceased spouse.”

The executor of the deceased estate has to take the requirements above into account when determining the amount of the claim against the estate.

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)

There are certain components to a performance management system which need to be incorporated into a company in order to ensure the effective management of employees:

  1. It must create a shared understanding of what is to be achieved

Performance management should be used by managers and employees to create a shared understanding of what should be achieved, and also how it is to be achieved. Managers and supervisors must ensure that individuals and teams have a common understanding of how their jobs connect to the mission and goals of the business.

  1. Accountability for results must be clearly assigned and well-understood by everyone

Management must clearly identify what it takes to determine success and make sure that all managers and employees understand what they are responsible for in achieving the company’s goals. Accountability is a key success factor for any company.

  1. Compensation, rewards, and recognition should link to performance measures

A clear link between achieving a specified performance target and some form of meaningful compensation, reward or recognition should be used as a positive performance incentive. Managers and employees intuitively understand the importance of a performance measure when it is directly tied to financial remuneration or another form of meaningful reward or recognition.

  1. Employees must be trained on their performance

Employees must be clearly briefed on their responsibilities and they should be trained in the areas where they are lacking. It might be that employees are capable of performing, but that they are not sure of what is expected of them, or they have not performed a certain task before and need guidance.

  1. Both managers and employees must monitor and track performance

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To ensure the effective monitoring of performance, regular progress reviews should be conducted with employees where their performance is compared to their performance measures.

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)