Answer to a question from a reader

What will happen to my husband's RDP house that he got with his ex-wife if one of us dies?

The short answer

If the title deed of the house is in your husband's name, you each own 50% of the house. If one dies, the other inherits their share.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My husband married another woman in 2000 and had three children with her. They applied for an RDP house together. In 2004, I married him in community of property and we had a child together. I want to know what will happen to the house if my husband or I die? Does his ex-wife own 50% of the house? What will happen to my child?

The long answer

I am assuming that you and your husband and child are living in this RDP house that he applied for with the other woman in 2000. If the title deeds of the house are in your husband’s name, he is the legal owner of the house and, as you are married in community of property, you and your husband are legally a single person, each owning 50% of the house. In that case, you will inherit your half share or 50% of the house if your husband passes away, and the same applies to your husband if you pass away. The goal of RDP housing is to keep the property in the family.

If no will has been made, the law of Intestate Succession applies, which means that the spouse is first in line to inherit, followed by children, which will include your husband’s three children as well as your child with him.

When your husband and the other woman applied in 2000 for an RDP, house both their names would have been added to the municipality’s database. That means that when they separated, neither of them would be granted another subsidy with a new partner because you are only entitled to one subsidy, once.

You may want to ask Legal Aid exactly what your child’s and your husband’s other children’s rights are in this situation. Legal Aid is a means-tested organisation that is supposed to assist people who can’t afford a lawyer. These are their contact details:

  • Legal Aid Advice Line (toll-free): 0800 110 110

  • Please-Call-Me number: 079 835 7179

You could also ask an organisation like The Black Sash for free paralegal advice: 

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 24, 2021, 9:20 a.m.

See more questions and answers

Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.