Widows who take forever to get over their dead husbands could be locking out their future children from a portion of what the deceased left behind for his wife.
A succession dispute between Milka Wanjiku and her step-mother, Rose Wangechi, over the distribution of the estate of Wandimu Munyi, who died in 1985, was brought to the attention of High Court Judge, Lady Justice Lucy Gitari.
The widow, Ms Wangechi wanted four of the children that she bore after Mr Munyi’s death to benefit from the deceased’s estate, including a 22-acre piece of land in Mwea and an undisclosed amount of money given by the National Irrigation Board (NIB) for three acres acquired for construction of Thiba dam was also in contention.
The stepdaughter, Ms Wanjiku testified that the late had two wives, her deceased mother Agnes Muthoni who was the first wife and with whom he had three children and Ms Wangechi the second wife with whom he had one child. According to Ms Wanjiku, the other four step-siblings were not rightful beneficiaries to her fathers’ estate.
Justice Gitari ruled that the deceased’s estate be shared in five portions among the four children he had sired in his lifetime plus Ms Wangechi. According to the high court, child born by a widow more than nine months after her husband’s death is not entitled to inherit a share of the deceased’s property.
“The (other) four children are excluded as beneficiaries. The distribution should be in accordance with the number of children. The widow is an additional unit,” she said.
Section 29 of the Law of Succession Act, Cap 160, a child cannot be regarded as having survived the deceased if he had not taken them as his own before he passed away.