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As your life changes there are various financial implications that you should consider. Marriage, having children, divorce and related events affect your finances and your and your dependents' future.
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Yes. If you get married in community of property, all assets are jointly owned by both husband and wife. This means that you cannot leave an asset in full to someone other than your spouse, since you only own half the asset. With cash this is not much of a problem, but the executor will have great difficulty in dealing with something like a house. Similarly, both spouses are liable for the debts of each other.
Marriage out of community of property offers far better estate planning opportunities. An ante nuptial contract (ANC) may be used to secure certain assets for a spouse and also protect personal assets against debt - such as in the case where one of the spouses has a business.
There is little legal protection for a partner in the event of the relationship ending. There is a need for people involved in such relationships to carry out careful and thorough planning of their estates. The advice of an estate planner should be sought in this regard.
If you are liable of maintenance in terms of your Divorce Order, you should put in place a special plan to meet this obligation. Otherwise, your estate will probably face a major claim for a lump sum for this maintenance need. It is also crucial to have a new Will drafted as soon as you get divorced.
Namibian law no longer distinguishes between children born within marriage, those born outside of marriage, and those adopted. If you wish to treat such children differently in terms of inheritances, your Will should be drafted accordingly.
Where children could inherit while under the age of 21, your Will should make provision for a Trust to be set up to house the inheritance. If the inheritance consists of a reasonably substantial amount, the opportunity for growth in the capital value of the inheritance, as well as for flexible use of the funds, is far greater if a Trust holds the inheritance than if it is paid over to the Guardian's Fund.
This will depend on whether you are married or not. If you are married, your spouse is entitled to a minimum of N$50 000.00 of the estate. If the value of the estate is greater than this amount, whatever remains will be shared equally among the spouse and your children.
Many people don't realise that the law will uphold a Will leaving assets to a former spouse, despite the fact that the couple may have got divorced. If you don't amend your Will within three months of getting divorced, your former spouse will inherit from you.
...Will we inherit each other's assets?
Namibian law does not fully recognise your marriage. Unless you have a Will that names your spouse as a beneficiary, they will not be entitled to any of your assets. The same applies to heterosexual couples living together and same-sex unions.
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