Cost of an Antenuptial Contract – any Province in South Africa
This contract typically ranges from R2500.00 for a “basic” contract (we believe this rate is reasonable) and can go upward, depending on complexity and the seniority of the Attorney used. Contact us for a competitive rate.
Process to sign and register an antenuptial Contract
The contract must be signed by both parties intending to marry before the marriage is entered. (If you slip up on this, the only way to change your marital dispensation is by way of a High Court Application, typically starting at R 18 000.00 upwards.) If the agreement is signed in time, the contract will be registered in a Deeds Office and this can still take place after the marriage, but it must be signed by the parties before the marriage. We can assist in doing most of the process electronically!
What is an Antenuptial Contract
Shortly referred to as a “Pre nup” by Hollywood or as an “Ante nup” in Britain (we use last mentioned name in SA – ante nuptial agreement), this document is an agreement between partners who intend to get married. This agreement will determine the respective parties’ rights and obligations in their Individual Estates, if the Marriage is terminated by means of not only divorce, but also death. This contract is adapted to everyone’s personal needs, and one should be weary of a “one-size-fits-all-approach”.
What does accrual mean?
In layman’s terms, accrual only comes to play at the dissolution of the marriage and accrual refers to the amount whereby parties separate Net Estate Values has increased or decreased.
The importance of an Antenuptial Contract
An Antenuptial Contract’s value lies
During the marriage – effectively protecting parties from creditors since parties retain their own separate Estate. (If one sinks financially, they sink alone, not taking with the other one.)
At the dissolution of the marriage (death or divorce). Parties can choose if they want to marry out of community of property, with or without the accrual. In the first mentioned case – “with the accrual” parties will share in each other’s Net Estate Values, where in last mentioned case - “without the accrual” – they will not share. This choice should be carefully considered to provide for both parties at the end of the marriage.
Types of contracts
A marriage in community of property
A marriage out of community of property including the accrual system
A marriage out of community of property excluding the accrual system
A brief description of each type of ante nuptial contract
In community of property
The old saying of “What’s mine in yours and yours is mine” applies here. This is where the parties did not enter into an ante nuptial contract before entering into the marriage. Both parties' separate estates (assets & liabilities) that they had before the wedding, are merged into one estate after conclusion of the marriage. This is a very undesirable situation to be when creditors and estate duty taxes are considered. This position should never be recommended. If you do not enter an ante nuptial contract, you are automatically married in community of property.
Out of community of property without the accrual system
Financially speaking, parties can be compared to unmarried persons in this instance. Parties will never share in each other’s assets and cannot be held responsible for another’s liabilities. This is recommended for parties entering second marriages.
Out of community of property with the accrual system.
Here, parties still retain their own assets before and after the marriage. As stated previously, the accrual will only come into effect when the marriage is terminated. Everyone is still responsible for their own assets and liabilities, but the advantage here is that upon dissolution of the marriage (divorce or death) the net estate values are calculated separately, and the smaller estate must be compensated with half of the difference between the larger estate and the smaller estate. This option is recommended for families where parties have, or foresee, a big difference in their respective incomes.
When must the antenuptial contract be entered into and when must it be registered?
The ante nuptial contract must be entered into (signed by both parties) before the marriage is entered into. If signed in time, the contract will be registered in a deeds office and this can still take place after the marriage, but it must be signed before the marriage. We can assist to do most of this electronically! (If you slip up on this, the only way to change your marital dispensation is by way of a High Court Application, typically starting at R 18 000.00 upwards.)
How to change your marital status
So, you didn’t sign the ante nuptial agreement in time, hey? Not to worry. We can help to change your marriage dispensation, by means of a High Court Application. Unfortunately these costs are much higher, as stated above.