The rights of a life partner | Fin24

The rights of a life partner

Sep 29 2014 18:17

After 25 years the life partner of a Fin24 user wants to move out of the house, but not without some compensation. She writes:

My life partner of 25 years wants to move out of the house.

The house we are living in is in my name. He helped me extend the house and now he is claiming R200 000 from me. My house is bond free.

I do not qualify for a personal loan so the only option I have is to take a bond on my home, but then I have to work till I'm 65 years old. I am now 45 years old.

I would like to know if he is entitled to get half of my pension? If so, would it be better to give him the pension rather than taking a bond or resigning from work?

Please give me advice.

Attorney Yolandie Veldsman, responds:

With reference to the rights of a life partner: It is a very difficult question and here is a very broad answer to it.

These relationships are not yet protected and accepted as in the case of a marriage and the rights between partners are more difficult to enforce.

The claim
In this case the life partner will have a claim if he still has proof of what he has contributed towards the improvements of the property.

The pension  

He will not automatically be entitled to half of the pension, unless you have included him as a beneficiary.

The problem is that the trustees will look at the relationship, especially with reference to dependency, and then they can decide to award pension to him.

I have just heard about a case where a person had passed away and his life partner of 13 years claimed pension and the trustees decided in the life partner's favour.

In your case, you and your life partner have been living together for 25 years. This is a very long period and it could count in his favour for claims.

Once again,  you need to look at a lot of factors in the relationship.  Examples:  who paid what and who was responsible for what, who is dependent on who?

If you want to claim form your pension fund to pay him, you will have to find out if the process with the fund allows it. I tend to agree with you to claim from the pension and pay him.

Many legal professionals are asking partners in this situation to rather draw up an agreement to protect both and to arrange who will be responsible for which accounts and expenses in the relationship.

This will make it easier, once they want to end the relationship, to determine who is entitled to what.

- Fin24

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