The Homa Bay Township MP Peter Kaluma has proposed a Bill that if passed, only the legal children, legal spouses recognised by the Marriages Act and the extended family will be liable to the deceased inheritance. Ex-wives and children born out of wedlock will be locked out of inheritance. This law, the MP says, will see to it that only the legitimate families get a fair share of the inheritance.

“The principal object of this Bill is to amend the Law of Succession Act to give legitimate dependants of a deceased person a claim and a right in the deceased’s intestate estate,” he says, “The main aim of the Bill is to avoid situations where opportunistic schemers successfully claim a stake in a deceased person’s estate hence disenfranchising the legitimate heirs of the deceased,” he adds, speaking in reference of the popular practice of secret wives/girlfriends emerging from the dark when a man dies.

Definition of spouse

The Bill requires that a spouse be defined as a husband or wife or wives recognised under the Marriage Act.

“The Bill seeks to provide clarity on who a dependant of a deceased person is. It gives stronger protection to the spouse, children and extended family of a deceased person in succession matters. In that regard, clause 2 of the Bill introduces the definition of the term ‘spouse’ as contained in the Marriage Act,” he explains.

Dependants

The Bill takes an issue with the current definition of dependants. Currently, dependants are defined as the wife or wives, former wife or wives and the children of the deceased whether or not maintained by the deceased immediately prior to a man’s death. He wants this changed so that only the spouse and children of the deceased are recognised as the dependents.

The current law defines a child as one who is conceived but not yet born, any child born out of wedlock and any child whom a man or woman has expressly recognised or accepted as a child of his own or one whom he or she has voluntarily assumed permanent responsibility.

Extended family

He wants the extended family including parents, step-parents, grandparents, grandchildren, step-children, children whom the deceased had taken into his family as his own, brothers and sisters and half-brothers, half-sisters to be liable to inheritance.

“A person not named in this section shall not be a dependant for the purposes of this Act unless the person proves was maintained by the deceased for a period of two years prior to the deceased’s death,” he says.