Pretoria - The legal battle between Springbok legend Joost van der Westhuizen’s brother and his estranged celebrity wife Amor Vittone over his last will and testament has been postponed indefinitely.
The will has been a bone of contention since Joost’s death in February. The rugby star's brother, Pieter van der Westhuizen, and then attorney, Ferdinand Hartzenberg, turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to declare the will drawn up on September 2, 2015 as his last.
In terms of this will Pieter was appointed as the executor.
His belongings were bequeathed to his two children - Jordan, 13, and Kylie, 11.
A legal glitch, however, caused the Master of the High Court not to accept the 2015 will as being legal. It was rejected as Joost did not sign it.
It was signed by Hartzenberg, who acted as a commissioner of oaths. Joost was at that time too weak from motor neurone disease to sign it.
The Master, during a meeting in May this year, indicated that he was of the opinion that Joost’s last will did not fully comply with the required formalities as prescribed in the Wills Act. He said he had no choice but to reject it.
This left a will, which Joost and Amor drew up jointly in August 2009, as his valid testament.
In terms of that will, Amor, to whom he was still married in community of property at the time of his death, would mostly inherit from his estate.
Joost, however, on September 2, 2015, drew up a new will in his personal capacity, which had to replace the 2009 will. In terms of the 2015 will, he bequeathed his entire estate to the J9 Trust, of which his two children were the only beneficiaries.
Hartzenberg, in an affidavit, made it clear that Joost’s wishes changed, and by 2015 the former rugby star was adamant that Amor should not inherit anything.
The couple got married in December 2002 in community of property, but they became estranged and lived apart in August 2010.
Also read: Court battle looms over Joost's will
Hartzenberg said when Joost left their communal home in Dainfern, he only took his personal rugby memorabilia, his clothes and other personal items with him.
Despite divorce proceedings being instituted, the pair never got to finalise it before Joost died.
Hartzenberg said Joost asked him, in 2013, to draw up a new will as he claimed that Amor insisted the entire communal estate was left only to her.
“Joost instructed me to draft a last will and testament for him with reference to his half share of the joint estate.”
Hartzenberg said he met Joost on numerous occasions and he eventually showed him the draft document in September 2015. The content was according to Joost’s wishes.
Hartzenberg said he signed the document, along with the codicil, as the commissioner of oaths.
It was required in law that someone else had to sign on his behalf and that Hartzenberg, as Commissioner of Oath, was not allowed to sign on his behalf.
He asked the court to make an exception and to honour the rugby legend’s wishes for Amor not to inherit his share.
In August last year Amor filed a notice to oppose the application.
She was due to file her opposing papers by September, but omitted to do so.
The case was on the unopposed roll for this week, but it has since emerged that Amor had filed her answering affidavit on November 29 - about a week before the hearing was due to start.
The Joost camp argued that her belated court papers were filed out of time and that it should not be accepted by the court.
Lawyers acting for the applicants accused Amor in a letter before the court of "maliciously and deliberately attempting to delay the outcome of the matter".
The matter was, however, postponed indefinitely and Amor accepted the liability to pay the wasted legal costs.
It is not, at this stage, clear what her opposition to the application is, but Amor has denied she wanted to benefit from Joost’s assets, and said she only had the best interests of her children at heart.