What women can learn from Amor Vittone's situation

5/30/2017


This morning, I read that Joost's brother Pieter van der Westhuizen and his lawyer Ferdi Hartzenberg are moving to have Joost's latest Will (which was not signed by Joost but by his lawyer) declared valid.

The reports also claim that if the Will is deemed valid, Amore may be left with nothing but a TV!

I'm still wide eyed about the TV!

Amor and Joost were married in community of property and Joost died almost four months ago and his estate still hasn’t been officially registered.

Her legal counsel told TshisaLIVE that Joost's initial Will states that everything in Joost's estate goes to Amor and the children.

But where there is a Will, there is a way to contest it. And with the brother contesting it, he clearly believes that Amor doesn't deserve anything from Joost. Pieter forgets that Amor and Joost had kids together and she now has to take care of them alone - mentally, physically and financially.

Honestly, I can't imagine her stress... when it comes to money, families can ruin you. And it's far easier for them when you are a woman. They have all kinds of reasons why they are doing it.

What I find interesting is that she told Huisegenoot magazine, that before Joost’s death she visited him often to find out if everything was in order, and she was assured that their children would be taken care of. And she also said that she struggled to get Joost’s legal team and his family.

Obviously we don't know the ins and outs of her relationship with the family but if your former brother in-law is contesting the will, then it safe to say that there is no relationship.

The good thing about this case is that Amor has the the old Will signed. Let's hope it will be the only one considered valid by the courts. So far, the Master of the High Court has refused to accept the will produced by Joost's brother because Joost did not sign it.


WHAT TO DO

So if you find yourself in Amor's shoes, stay calm and seek expert legal advice. What the legal advisors need to do is provide you with advice on the claim being made by your husband’s family as well as gathering evidence to refute whatever claim they come up with. This includes evidence of the circumstances surrounding the making of your husband’s Will, statements made by your husband, his medical state at the time he executed the Will as well as statements from witnesses to the Will.

If you are still happily married or otherwise, here is what you need to do for yourself:
  1. Be as much a part of your husband’s life (including finances) as possible, so you are aware of everything. 
  2. As much as possible, convince him to write a Will as this will ensure that it is you and your children who will benefit from his estate. Make sure that theWill is drafted by a competent lawyer so that there will be no lapses that could lead to a Court of law declaring the Will as invalid, null and void.
  3. If he has a Will, ensure that it is regularly updated with anything new.
  4. Immediately after the funeral, contact a lawyer for proper legal advice. Always get a second legal opinion.
  5. As much as possible, ensure that you are legally married to your husband. In a situation where you are not the legal wife, please ensure that he writes a Will and includes you and your children in it.
Don't be caught sleeping. Remember, without a Will legislation decides: 

- Who inherits your property;
- Who is guardian of your minor children; and
- Who is in charge of your estate administration.

Without a Will:
- The court could appoint someone you do not approve of to be your executor;
- Your estate will be dealt with according to rigid and inflexible laws;
- Your minor children's inheritance might suffer, since anything they are entitled to receive, will have -To be transferred to the Guardian's Fund in a monetary form, where it will remain until they turn 18. This means that the family home would have to be sold.
    With a Will you:
    - Protect the inheritance of children under 18;
    - Ensure that your wishes are carried out;
    -And if you own a business, you will protect your family against debt liability;
    - Can save on estate duty with proper planning.
    - And what would determine your rights as a widow after your husband's death is entirely dependent on whether or not he had a Will and if he doesn't, then it is entirely dependent on the type of marriage you had.
      This is why ignorance is not bliss and reading and keeping yourself abreast with things that matter to you is so important. And as women, we need to stop believing that we need our partners to take care of everything. Just get involved and save yourself heartache and pain please.

      Don't leave yourself prey to the vicissitudes of circumstance and fate. Take care of YOU!

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