Tongue tied this Valentine’s Day? Are you sweating bullets about having to impress your loved one? Fear not beloved, we’ve got you. Melt his/ her heart this Valentine’s Day with one of these (some would say super cheesy or nerdy) romantic gestures, all with their own set of legal consequences.
- “You power up my world, why not also be my Power of Attorney? To prove my trust, I have brought this formal document to our date night. Once I sign it, acting as the principal, you are empowered/ authorised as an agent to act on my behalf. This document is not only an expression of my will to third parties/ people out there in the world, but also means that you may enter into a contract that would bind me. Just like I am bound to you.”
Do not sign this document, the intention itself should be enough. Unless you have a specific scenario and reason in mind, and this has been specified in the Power of Attorney. Also, only if you do trust your beloved with your life and credit score.
The law of agency in South Africa is based on the principle that one cannot authorise someone else to perform acts that you yourself do not have the capacity to perform. Nothing lasts forever, including our mind. The day you become unable to act due to mental incapacity, often something that accompanies old age, you are no longer able to enter into contracts. This means that the Power of Attorney you gave your beloved, or attorney, to manage your affairs on your behalf, becomes invalid. This does not make much sense. In Canada for example, you have something called an enduring power of attorney. This means that the power of attorney remains in force despite the mental incapacity and inability of the principle to act. Luckily the South African Law Reform Commission in 2004 recommended changes that should come to light soon.
- “You know, we have been going steady for many years now. Naturally I am enjoying every moment with you. Whilst we have both discussed this, and marriage is not our thing at the moment, let’s make it official with a Domestic Partnership Agreement? This means that the consequences of our living arrangements and of us building this life together, will be reduced to writing for my/ your protection. Should anything ever happen to us, which I am sure it will not, there will be a clear route, division of belongings and arrangements with regards to our pets and furniture items purchased together.”
This might not seem romantic, however, leaving your loved one (or being the one) left in the cold should things turn sour, is even less so.
- “Will you marry me? I want to spend the rest of my life with you and get married as soon as possible, but not before we sign an ante-nuptial agreement. If we don’t, we will automatically be married in community of property. This means that everything you own and owe becomes mine too, and vice versa. It might be safer to enter into an ante-nuptial agreement.”
Remember to personalize what follows or precedes the first four words. Also, perhaps it is a good idea to discuss matrimonial property regimes as part of a different conversation.
You have two choices when entering into an ante-nuptial agreement:
- Out of community of property with the accrual: you may share everything you gained AFTER your wedding date (over simplified);
- Out of community of property without the accrual: you do not share anything at all, unless the property is in both your names.
All the flowers in the world would not come close to matching the above. Best of luck and, from all of us here at Legal Hero, we wish you and your cherished one a wonderful Valentine’s Day.