As some of you know, my wife died last week after a short illness. Known to you in my books as my "American Patriot" she was 41 years old and the love of my life. I wish I could say to you that it is fine and all will be good but it is not...I will never be the same even though I accepted it as far as is humanely possible to do at this stage. To those who left encouraging messages to me - I thank you, it is highly appreciated. You go through stages of anger and grief and your faith is severely tested in many ways. However, I know it is only faith which makes you believe that you will meet again and I pity those who don't have faith during these times - they are all alone. So the death of my wife is not the end of us but in law it is and that is what I want to write about today for life goes on - it waits for no man.
Regrettably I have seen death many times before. During my days in the South African Police Force I saw death daily and never stopped to marvel at how much blood a human body contains. So it is nothing new to me but I can tell you, the very last thing you want to hear is "it will be OK" or "don't cry, it is life" and other well-meant senseless advice. It takes time and many tears to get through such an event when it is close family.
I included a chapter on the legalities of death in my book The Circle of Life and an additional booklet called About your Last Will & Testament to warn against the risk of letting a bankster (your worst enemy) be involved with the drafting of your testament. I urge you to read the above and to get your affairs in order before it is too late. Life is not a right you or your lawyer can effectively enforce - it is a privilege which may be taken away at any stage. You just don't know when it will happen and hence you need to identify a few things whilst the deceased is still alive. For instance you need to know where the insurance policies are if any. Or what the passwords for the social media are because it must be closed. Or what the deceased wanted in terms of burial or cremation and where. Especially you need to understand the effect of a living will which is where you, as living spouse, must decide to switch the machines off or not. Luckily Melissa and I spoke about these topics before and it was easy for me to make the right decision (with her family) but let me tell you, it was also the most heart rendering decision ever in my life.
We have a saying in law that anyone who can tell the legal profession when a person is dead will receive a doctorate without further questions asked. It used to be when your heart stops beating but then came Dr Chris Barnard and replaced the non-beating heart back in 1969 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. Yes, the first heart transplant was not in America but South Africa. As a matter of interest he changed the legal definition for death - still - when asked by a subsequent Judicial Commission on when someone is dead his only answer was "he is dead when I say so" which did not help the cause much. Ever since the medical men talked about brain dead as being dead but even that has legal problems - we often hear of a comatose women being raped by a sick individual - or is that necrophilia if strictly according to the law? How far does the law allow you to commit euthanasia where you hasten death by medical intervention? You need to know these things for you cannot dodge it.
Death is serious businesses in law besides the money to be made by banksters (your worst enemy) from the late estate if you are silly enough to allow them anywhere near you. When you die all sorts of things legally happen - you lose your human rights immediately for you are not a human anymore. You lose your properties and it must be divided according to your testament which is a very serious legal document - don't play the fool with it. You also cannot be sued anymore but your late estate certainly can and will be if there is money due on them which is not paid. Your marriage is also now over and your partner free to carry on if so inclined and much more besides the above.
Let me hasten to add, I will probably never marry again and have no desire for a new relationship at all. But the law will allow you to do so and in the old days, during Roman Law times, the wife could not remarry until one year past after her husband's death. This was for the sake of any unborn children so that no dispute arose on who the father could be - they used the pater est quem test for fatherhood and also by appearances alone - it is all in my book The Circle of Life. Interestingly, if the husband was a prisoner of war he was considered dead under Roman Law...as you can imagine that led to many coming home and having no estate left so certain laws came into being on that topic too. Up to very recently no woman could inherit without her husband agreeing. So as you can see - it is complicated because it is a subject no-one wants to discuss - be prepared before it is too late. It is something which will happen to you in your future.
You all know about your right to remain silent...where you can refuse to say anything which may later incriminate you in a court of law. Americans call it "taking the fifth" and in South Africa it was initially referred to as the "Judges Rules" and it all comes down to the same thing - to stay silent when questioned by the police or authorities without fear of being sorted out for that silence.
Obviously in certain countries such silence would be seen as a sincere lack of respect for law enforcement. It is said that in the old South African Police Force we took a dim view of the above rights and had our own (very unofficial version) which went something like this: "Yes, you have the f right to remain silent, but I would seriously advise you not to f invoke that right...for I will kick the (you know what) out of you until you f confess and stop wasting my f time!" This was also then followed up with a few well-placed punches so that the message quickly got to even the thickest of criminals that a confession is desired and will be given anyway, so why waste everyone's time?
The fact that he may have been innocent did not enter the fray - the fact that he would (after a fatherly talk) show us where his murdered victim was buried proved to us his guilt beyond any doubt. And the courts agreed - they took the not surprising viewpoint that "if you did not know anything, as you now claim, why then could you show the detective where the body and murder weapon etc was hidden? So even if you needed to be pursued by the diligent detective to tell the truth, you are still guilty and your confession stands!"
As you can imagine that view brought all sorts of trouble for the criminal and more innocent citizens so one of the first things to be changed in law, in the new South Africa, was that any type of coercion to get a confession will lead to the whole of the evidence being declared invalid. Null and void as if it never existed and that should have stopped over eager detectives in their tracks when it comes to fatherly methods. I am sure that you will agree this is the better option for the protection of the innocent - but it is also seen as being soft on crime - wrongly in my view.
The South African legal system is not seen as soft on crime by the long haired liberals overseas (not that their opinion matters). In fact it is seen as overly harsh...especially in the light of the almost total lack of education in prison and terrible overcrowding. It is NOT an extended holiday though some of the richer prisoners may bribe their way there as they would have done outside too. My point is that the law is neutral and it is for you to use it to your advantage. If you do not claim your rights (legal remedy's) it will probably not be automatically invoked to protect you. The question is do you understand your many rights? Most unfortunately don't and it is not always against the police but sometimes against your bank or other creditors. They are by far worse than the police in my interpretation for they destroy everything you have including your self-confidence and manhood. They will even wreck your marriage if allowed to because you don't know how far you can push back!
I tried to help the average Joe on the street by giving my legal books away free of charge for you to empower yourself against such attacks. For instance Your Worst Enemy will tell you what to do when you lost your job and cannot afford your loans anymore. You will soon find your worst enemy (previously known as your banksters) now considers you "something akin to satan to be humiliated as much as possible" and not an honoured client anymore - expert legal and business knowledge may save you and your family from this scenario. I wish more professionals will do the same and assist the people to understand the legal system.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.