It has been a volatile week on the global markets, due particularly to Tech stock taking quite a knock and vaccine trials having stumbled a bit.
Court case – Testator’s soundness of mind Vermaak NO and Another v Jacobs and Others  ZAGPJHC 346 The first plaintiff (V) took over as executor of the deceased estate of L from the second plaintiff’s (E) husband (P), after P passed away. L made a joint will with her husband, G in 2005. G died later in 2005. L then executed a will in March 2010, and again in October 2014. She passed away in December 2014. P initiated the litigation and applied to the court for an order declaring which one of the three wills should be given effect to, as the different heirs and legatees held different views as to L’s state of mind when she executed the wills. Due to the material differences the matter was referred to trial. When the trial commenced, all parties accepted that the 2014 will cannot stand as it was by then clear that L suffered from dementia and was already unsound of mind at the time of its execution. The first defendant (J) was adamant that L was already unsound of mind in 2010, and held the view that the 2005 will would be the last validly executed will. The third (S) and fourth (Z) defendants held the view that L was sound of mind when she executed the 2010 will. The court (Sutherland J) applied the provisions of section 4 of the Wills Act, 7 of 1953, that any person who alleges that a testator was not mentally capable of executing a will is faced with the onus of proving that. Proof of the incapability must be on a balance of probabilities. Expert witnesses give their expert opinions, but the court must evaluate their evidence together with that of any other witnesses to reach a factual finding. After weighing the evidence of two experts, as well as the evidence of J, Z, L’s physician, a friend of L, and two domestic helpers, the court concluded that there is nothing of substance supporting the allegation by J that L was already unsound of mind in 2010. The court held that the 2010 will is therefore L’s last valid will.
The government appears to have switched from control to collaboration in managing the latest phase (level three) of the Covid-19 lockdown. Whereas previous lockdown levels involved the micromanagement of what citizens could and could not do,the government yesterday (Thursday) placed greater responsibility on businesses to control the spread of the virus, effectively handing responsibility to workplaces.
Our Office operational arrangements for the month of June 2020…..
We have, during the entire Lockdown period thus far, been lucky to have been able to operate remotely at full complement, and more recently, during Level 4, have had rotating teams operating from our offices in Hilton as well.
With effect from Monday 1 June 2020, our in-office teams will be expanded, with effectively one-half of our staff being in attendance at our Hilton office daily and the other-half working remotely, on a daily rotational basis.
We look forward to continuing to be of assistance to our clients, in accordance with our changed operational arrangements, until we are able to change these arrangements further as things progress in these extraordinary times.