What is the Accrual System

Why was the accrual system introduced?

In previous years you had the situation where one spouse was the main breadwinner while the other stayed at home. The main breadwinner bought all the assets in their name while the ‘stay at home’ spouse had very little to show for all their effort. The accrual system dealt with this situation.


How the Accrual System works.

Each spouse gets to run their own affairs separately. At the end of the marriage – either through death or divorce – the spouse with the smaller accrual since the marriage started is allowed to claim against the estate of the other spouse.

This claim is for an amount equal to half the difference between each of their accruals.

The easiest accrual to calculate is the one where each spouse started with zero assets.

During the marriage let’s assume both spouses build up assets worth R1 million. Upon death or divorce each spouse is then entitled to R500, 000.

The problem comes in when either spouse brings assets into the marriage. This means that an accrual claim needs to be calculated.

 A couple of things are excluded from the accrual:

  • Inheritances and donations to either of the spouses from third parties are excluded
  • Assets which are excluded in terms of the ante nuptial contract. This includes the proceeds from the sale of such.
  • An asset as well as the purchase of any new asset which replaces the previous one.
  • Any damages awarded to either of the spouses by a court settlement
  • Donations between the spouses
  • Life insurance with the surviving spouse listed as beneficiary

Contact our Specialist Divorce Financial Planner to assist you with any financial planning queries


or  082-852-7610

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