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Comparative Succession LawVolume II: Intestate Succession$
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Kenneth Reid, Marius de Waal, and Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747123.001.0001

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Intestate Succession in South Africa

Intestate Succession in South Africa

(p.248) 10 Intestate Succession in South Africa
Comparative Succession Law

Marius J de Waal

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the law of intestate succession in South Africa. The South African law of intestate succession is consolidated in a single short statute, the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987. The history of the ‘formal’ law of intestate succession began with the official reception of the Dutch Schependomsrecht at the Cape midway through the seventeenth century. This system remained unaltered for nearly three centuries. Its main characteristic was how narrowly it drew the circle of potential intestate heirs: the system of intestate succession was based on blood relationship; the surviving spouse did not qualify as intestate heir; and the institution of adoption was unknown. It was only during the twentieth century that, by means of a number of ad hoc statutory interventions, the surviving spouse and the adopted child were introduced as intestate heirs.

Keywords:   South African civil law, intestate succession, succession law, Schependomsrecht, Constitution of 1996

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