A grandchild’s claim to maintenance from a deceased grandparent’s estate

Authors Daniel Mackintosh, Mohamed Paleker

ISSN: 1996-2088
Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Private Law, UCT; Attorney of the High Court of South Africa
Source: Acta Juridica, 2014, p. 41 – 77


The right of children to claim maintenance from deceased parents’ estates is well-established in South African law. Whether grandchildren can claim similar rights from deceased grandparents’ estates is unsettled: the courts have not overwhelmingly rejected such claims, nor have they strongly endorsed them. It would appear that the law is in a state of flux. This paper explores the evolution of maintenance claims against deceased estates so as to better understand the ambivalence towards maintenance claims of grandchildren against deceased grandparents’ estates. The paper contextualises the need for the recognition of such claims within the prevailing socio-economic climate in South Africa and contemporary constitutional rights and remedies. At the end, the paper discusses international trends, which recognise such claims to counter-balance freedom of testation.