The positive law which has developed over the past two decades relating to the right of intestacy and who qualifies to inherit as an intestate heir, has created a deadlock with regards to heterosexual life partners and the fact that they do not qualify as mutual intestate heirs of their deceased partners’ estate. Compared to their same-sex life partner counterparts, who indeed qualify as intestate heirs of their deceased partner’s estate, heterosexual life partners are mostly left out in the cold.

In the dissertation a brief overview of the developments regarding the positive law specifically relating to intestate succession is discussed. The deadlock that was consequently created and the importance of addressing the legal position that possibly constitutes unfair discrimination which affects heterosexual life partners, is analysed. Possible remedies will be discussed based on academic opinions, hypotheses by scholars and research conducted by the South African Law Reform Commission, which resulted in a draft bill, named the Domestic Partnership Bill, relating to domestic partnerships.

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