Answer to a question from a reader

Can my half-brother claim the house even though my parents were married in community of property?

The short answer

No, but he has inherited a child's share, just like you and your sister.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My father passed away a few years ago. He is survived by my mother, to whom he was married in community of property, and their children – me, my sister and my half-brother. My father did not leave a will but my half-brother brought his whole family to the house for a short stay. They've been here for a few years now. I heard him say to my mother that she is behaving like she owns the house. Does my half-brother and his family have the right to claim the house?

The long answer

No, your half-brother does not have the right to claim the house. As your mother was married in community of property to your late father, half of the property is automatically hers. The other half is divided equally between your mother, you, your sister and your half-brother, and that is known as a child’s share. Your half-brother inherits equally with you and your sister as you are all your father’s direct descendants in terms of the Intestate Succession Act.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Sept. 3, 2021, 2 p.m.

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