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Case Law: Gory V Kolver

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA - April 2019

Does same sex life partnerships = “spouses” for purposes of intestate succession

The facts of the case are as follows: the deceased and the applicant were allegedly, at the time of the deceased’s death, partners in a permanent, same - sex life partnership.

When the deceased died int estate, his parents nominated the first respondent to be appointed by the Master as the executor of their son’s estate, and claimed to be entitled to his assets as his intestate heirs.

This resulted in a dispute with the applicant as to who the lawful int estate heir was.

The High Court found that the deceased and the applicant had indeed been involved in a permanent same - sex life partnership and had assumed reciprocal duties of support.

It found the exclusion of same - sex life partners from the provisions of section 1(1) of the Act to be unconstitutional and ordered the reading of certain words into the section.

In this Court the issue is whether section 1(1) is unconstitutional and if so, what the appropriate remedy should be. The applicant submits tha t the High Court order in respect of the section should be confirmed as it stands.

The Constitutional Court ruled that a same - sex life partner was entitled to inherit the estate of the other partner who died intestate, even if they were not married.

Date: 11th October 2013
Legislation: Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987
Gory v Kolver NO and Others (Starke and Others Intervening) 2007 (4) SA 97 (CC)
Civil Union Act 17 of 2006
The Marriage Act 25 of 1961

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