Scenario: You are a young couple, engaged and planning the wedding of your dreams, but during the midst of your planning, one month before the big day, one of your family members asks you if you have catered for the protection of your family business should your marriage ever dissolve – how do you go about protecting your assets?

South Africa recognises three types of marriage regimes: in community of property, out of community of property with accrual and out of community of property without accrual.

The legalities of marriage can be compared to baking a wedding cake. When spouses choose to marry in community of property, all of the “ingredients” (assets and liabilities) in yours and your spouse’s separate estates as they are before the date of your marriage are baked to become one whole cake and should your marriage dissolve, for whatever reason the “ingredients” of your “cake” cannot be separated or “unbaked” to what they were before your date of marriage; and each of you will share equally in the mix of each other’s liabilities (debts) and assets.

The option of marrying out of community of property excluding the accrual system allows spouses to grow each of their estates separately to each other, without either of them having a claim against the other’s estate should the marriage dissolve. In other words, each spouse bakes their own separate cake with their own ingredients.

Marrying out of community of property with the inclusion of the accrual system involves spouses keeping their own assets and liabilities acquired before and during the marriage separate, but a “cake” of joint assets is established at the end of the marriage, which is divided equally between the spouses based on their “ingredients” added to the marriage.

Should you need further advice on the marital regimes in south Africa contact Tuckers on 011 897 1900, 076 777 1920 or info@tuckers.co.za and let us guide you in “baking” your “wedding cake” with “ingredients” that protect both you and your spouse from “putting all of your eggs into one basket”.


Article contributed by Lauren Tayla Thomaz of Tuckers attorneys.