In the South African Law, companies have a separate legal persona and limited liability. This is however many times circumvented by signing personal surety. A good corporate structure will take into account personal sureties and protect the corporation as well as directors in their personal capacity should personal cross sureties be required by creditors and financial institutions.
It is not enough to simply put a company on your spouse or your children or friend or family member’s name. A good corporate structure will make use of the separation of ownership, but the stake holders will still retain control. Keeping control of your structure, even in the event of insolvency, is of utmost importance.
Doctrine of Estoppel
Should the ownership of a company be placed on a third party’s name, you may not in future claim that the company was in fact yours to begin with. The doctrine of estoppel will have the effect that ownership will be regarded as vesting in the third party. This usually comes into play when the third party’s decedents lay claim to the company.