oa De Rebus - Inheritance ab intestato by children adopted overseas

Volume 1971, Issue 41
  • ISSN : 0250-0329



On April 20, 1968, a South African Airways Boeing on a flight to Frankfurt and London crashed near Windhoek, killing 111 of the 116 passengers on board, as well as all 12 members of the crew. Two of those on board, were a man and wife who were resident and domiciled in Germany who had been on a visit to South West Africa where the wife owned immovable property. They left behind them one child who had been adopted by an order of adoption made in Germany, but no Will. As was permissible in terms of the German Civil Code, the rights of intestate succession of the adopted child were excluded by the deed of adoption. In terms of South West African law, as in the case of South Africa, the rights of succession to the immovable property are determined by the lex rei sitae. This raises certain queries, not only as to the rights of succession of the adopted child in the case in question but generally as to the rights of children adopted in other countries, and this prompted the Association of Law Societies to make representations for an amendment of the Children's Act along the lines of the following memorandum.

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