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Why inheritance disputes are on the rise

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More and more Kenyan families continue to be torn apart by inheritance disputes by the day. Official statistics by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show that a staggering 26. 2% of all Kenyan households have experienced conflict over succession squabbles at some point.

Even members of some of Kenya’s wealthiest families have found themselves casting in the never ending tussles over inheritance, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s brother in law Udi Gecaga is caught in an inheritance tangle with his mother, Margaret Gecaga over a palatial home in the leafy Muthaiga suburb that she and her late husband lived in before he breathed his last in 2016.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o’s family is also on conflict mode over a Ksh200 million estate that the county chief’s father left behind without a will when he died in 2006. The row pits the former cabinet minister and his sister against their nephews and nieces.

Research by social services consultancy firm Enwealth Financial Services attributes this to the high number of Kenyan adults who have not written their wills.

The report dubbed Attitudes to Inheritance in Kenya shows that 60% of Kenyan adults do not have a succession plan, a situation that has led to the proliferation of conflict relating to wealth distribution after death.

Enwealth’s research undertaken jointly with Strathmore University and the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) indicates that 40% of  the adults rely on next of kin nominations, 20% make verbal declarations on their wishes while 5% confide in one family member as a way of formalising their succession plan.

“As financial planners we increasingly witness consequences for not putting an estate plan in place. Some of the reasons why people do not put a will in place include cultural beliefs relating to death, lack of trust, lack of awareness and fear of legal expenses,” reads the report.

Queried respondents listed a good education for their children; desire to leave a business for prosperity as the main reasons why they would wish to deposit a will.


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