Joost's unsigned will causes legal drama

2017-05-29 05:15
Joost van der Westhuizen (File,  Conrad Bornman, Beeld)

Joost van der Westhuizen (File, Conrad Bornman, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Joost van der Westhuizen’s lawyer will be launching an urgent court application that his last will be declared valid.

That is after the Master of the High Court refused to accept Van der Westhuizen’s will, Netwerk24 reported on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Amor Vittone threatened legal action if she isn’t kept abreast of all developments.  

Joost died almost four months ago and his estate still hasn’t been officially registered.  

Ferdi Hartzenberg, Joost and his brother Pieter van der Westhuizen’s lawyer, confirmed to Rapport that they would be bringing the application.

The problem is that Joost didn’t sign the will.

Hartzenberg, as a Commissioner of Oaths, had signed it on Joost’s behalf, because the ex-Bok, who had Motor Neuron Disease, had by then been too weak to do so.

According to Professor Marius de Waal, an expert in estate law at Stellenbosch University, said it made sense that the Master hadn’t accepted the will.

“When someone can’t sign his own will, he must make a mark [such as a cross] or give a fingerprint or ask someone to sign on his behalf.

“In all three cases, a Commissioner of Oaths has to be present and the commissioner must indicate somewhere on the will that he has determined the identity of the testator and that the will is his.

 “In addition to this, the testator’s lawyer [who drew up the will] may not sign on his behalf nor may he be the Commissioner of Oaths", De Waal says.

He says the court must now decide if the formality issues make the will invalid.

“If the court application to approve the will is turned down, there are two options: an older, valid testament will be used and if there isn’t one, the person dies intestate.”

That will be a dramatic turn of events. The will that Pieter and Hartzenberg have, and which Rapport has seen, appoints Pieter as executor of the estate and determines explicitly that “my estranged wife, Amor, may not benefit at all”.  All Amor inherits is a TV.     

Sean Hefferman, Amor’s lawyer, told Rapport that in an earlier will they have in their possession, everything is left to Amor and the children.

If Joost dies intestate, his wife and children also inherit everything.

According to Hefferman, they sent a letter to Pieter and Hartzenberg the week before last, demanding to know what was happening with the estate.  “They have as yet not responded.”

Hefferman didn’t know that Hartzenberg had already submitted the will to the Master.

He said his client was married to Joost in community of property and therefore has a direct interest in what debts and assets there are in his estate.

“She isn’t a gold digger. She has a right to know what is going on, so that she can plan her and the children’s future.

“At the moment she is being kept in the dark and has to pay accounts of which she wasn’t aware.

“The other day, for example, Amor was involved in an attempted hijacking, and her car was badly damaged. When she tried to claim, her broker told her that her insurance had been cancelled by Pieter van der Westhuizen just a week before the incident. 

“Not only the insurance for the car – all the short- and long-term insurance. So, the house and its content also aren't insured anymore.

Pieter denies this. He said he’d submitted Joost’s death certificate and Joost’s bank accounts had been frozen.

He doesn’t know why Amor didn’t know that the insurance would lapse once the premiums were no longer being paid. 

Read more on:    amor vittone  |  joost van der westhuizen  |  johannesburg

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