Woman’s bid to inherit ex-husband’s estate rejected - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 8 April 2019

Woman’s bid to inherit ex-husband’s estate rejected

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By JOSEPH WANGUI
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A court has blocked a divorced woman in Murang’a from managing or inheriting part of her former husband’s estate.
Justice Hatari Waweru dealt a blow to Ms Ruth Wanjiru Kihanya who wanted to be listed as a survivor and beneficiary in the estate of the late Cephas Kihanya Nathan alias Peter Kefa Kihanya.
She considered herself a wife of the deceased although they had divorced.
But Justice Waweru ruled that their children are entitled to a share of the properties.
The court noted that Ms Ruth was married to the deceased for 24 years but their marriage was dissolved on July 22, 1983 by a Thika court.
 Ms Ruth, in her court papers, said married to Kihanya under customary law on or about September 4, 1959 and they had five children.
After the divorce, the deceased married another woman, Ms Irene Wanjiru.
Ms Ruth moved to court seeking revocation of grant of letters of administration of the estate issued to Ms Wanjiru on July 27, 2015.
She protested that Ms Wanjiru, while obtaining the administration letters of the estate, failed to disclose to court a material fact that the deceased was a polygamist with two wives.
In the application, Ms Ruth accused Ms Wanjiru of omitting her and her children with the deceased from the list of the Kihanya’s survivors/beneficiaries.
The court heard that Ms Wanjiru neither gave notice to Ms Ruth nor sought her consent when seeking the grant of administration.
Ms Ruth said the grant issued to Ms Wanjiru was obtained fraudulently, by making statements without full disclosure of material facts.
But Ms Irene opposed the application for revocation of the grant, claiming that Ms Ruth only had three children with her husband, and not five.
She said that the deceased’s known children with Ms Ruth will be considered as beneficiaries of the estate. She produced the Thika court divorce decree as evidence that Ms Ruth was not a wife to the deceased.
“Being the deceased’s only surviving spouse, the law prefers Ms Wanjiru to administer the deceased’s estate, and the grant of letters of administration intestate issued to her was properly issued,” ruled Justice Waweru.
He dismissed Ms Ruth’s application and also declined to register her as a co-administrator of the estate.
As to who are beneficiaries entitled to the estate and their respective shares, the judge said all the deceased’s known children by the two women must be beneficiaries.

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