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September 02, 2021

How to protect yourself and your loved ones if you become temporarily or permanently disabled


There’s nothing wrong with your head, apart from the throbbing gash over your right eye and the 20 stitches that are holding it together.  You vaguely recall screeching brakes and flying glass.  You notice your right leg and arm are suspended in traction and your foot is itchy.  You are also thirsty. 

The doctors are talking about a lengthy period of rehabilitation with intensive physio and occupational therapy.  You will not be able to drive for six months.  You live alone. 

You and your newest friend named “Panic”, ponder how you might manage your ablutions, answer your front door or prepare a meal.  

What now?

With your mind accelerating into overdrive, you stress over how much of the recovery tab your medical aid may pick up?  (Or not.)  Since you have no family and your closest friend has a house with stairs, where will you go for the next six months?  What can you afford? 

Unless you are prepared to give someone you trust, a Power of Attorney to handle all your affairs and pay your bills over the next six months, a curator will have to be appointed.  This is tantamount to giving a complete stranger access to all your financial and personal affairs.

Can there be anything worse?

Yes.  Reduced mental capacity.

Whether temporary or permanent, from concussion to brain damage, early onset dementia to Alzheimer’s.  Once you are mentally incapacitated without a plan B, you are deemed to be incapable of taking care of yourself.  A curator it is.  (A Power of Attorney has no legal standing with respect to mental incapacitation.)

The curator will be appointed by the courts.  He or she may be the nicest person you have ever met (you have reduced mental capacity!).  The truth is that the courts do their best to appoint honest, suitably qualified people and there are many good and able curators, but the fact remains, you do not know this person who is now in complete control of all your affairs, with access to every nook and cranny of your life – including where you may have to spend the rest of your life.

There is a way better option.  It requires foresight, common sense and planning.  Nobody wants to be beholden to a third party for their care, it is a burdensome responsibility that may render you powerless and vulnerable. 

A contingency plan created before any physical or mental incapacitation happened, will have kept the newly-disabled person in the driver’s seat. It entails a personal blueprint of instructions that covers any future physical or mental incapacitation.  It is a plan that replaces complete strangers with people one knows and trusts.

Disability Planning within a Discretionary Living Trust represents a protective legal framework that holds the Trustees accountable to the law, to you and to each other.

Life happens. 

Get ahead of the threat and contact my respected associate, Dr Mervin Messias, a specialist in this field with years of professional (and life) experience.  For an appointment, call 011 – 783 0108 or email mervin@mmtrustspecialist.co.za. Please tell him that Bregman Moodley referred you to him.

September 01, 2021

Recognition of foreign marriages in South Africa


Destination weddings 

If you intend to have a destination wedding or if the husband is not a South African, you can and should enter into an antenuptial contract regulating the consequences of your marriage. Otherwise, you may be married in community of property. See this article. 

Registering a foreign marriage in South Africa 

You should inform the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) of the foreign marriage to update your marital status and surname, if it has changed, on the Population Register. 

You must submit the following documents to register the marriage: 

·         A written request for the foreign marriage registration, including your full contact details (address, mobile number, and email address). 

·         Your South African passport or identity document. 

·         Original or certified copy of the foreign marriage certificate accompanied by an English translation by a sworn translator if the original marriage certificate is not in English. 

The DHA does not issue a certificate confirming the changed status. However, it will capture the information on its website. 

Change of surname 

A female South African citizen who has changed her surname after marriage may apply for a new tourist passport and identity document reflecting her new married surname. 

However, she does not need to apply for the change of her surname formally and may choose to use either:

·         Her married surname 

·         Her maiden surname 

·         A double-barrel surname combining both married and maiden surnames

·         Any other surname had at any time prior to her current marriage 

Any male South African citizen who has chosen to change his surname after marriage must make a formal application for the change of surname.