Background To The Enactment Of The Succession (Amendment) Act, 2022
The distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children has been removed. This means that even children borne out of wedlock should have equal rights as the other children.
2. To provide for the distribution of Estates of intestate deceased persons.
3. To provide for the guardianship of minor children of deceased persons.
4. To provide for the discretion of courts
6.To provide for the requirement of the consent of spouses and lineal descendants prior to the disposal of estate property by administrators
7.To provide for joint administration of Executors and Administrators of Estates.
Salient Issues For Noting
a. The distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children has been removed. All children are treated as such. This means that even children borne out of wedlock should have equal rights as the other children.
b. Parents are now required to appoint a guardian for minor children. The court may remove this guardian though, where it is proved that he or she has failed, refused and or neglected to act as guardian. Court would consider the interests of the child, and where for any reason, it is clear that they are not being met, then court can remove the powers.
c. The Guardian has been given specific duties under the law, among which include, custody of the minor, disposal of the property of the minor and ensure that reasonable steps are taken to protect the property from loss or damage.
d. 20% of the deceased’s estate shall not be distributed but shall be held in trust for the education, maintenance and welfare of the minor children. ie. Children above 18 years of age, but below twenty-one years, where at the time of death, these children were undertaking studies and were not married. This also includes children with disabilities who are above eighteen years of age, but were not married at the time of death.
e. Married women are now allowed to dispose of any property which they are entitled to dispose of during their life, or which they are entitled to under a Will.
f. Anyone making a Will is now required by law to provide for their spouses, lineal descendants and dependent relatives.
g. Witnesses to a Will are now required to write their names and addresses on each and every page of the will, in the presence of the Testator (the person making the Will).
h. Where a Will is handwritten or produced in a typed format by a person, other than the Testator, and that person has a benefit in the Will, it will become void, if the benefit is claimed by the spouse or any other person who can claim.
i. Where someone does not appoint an executor or executrix, but appoints a guardian for the minor children, the guardian shall take up that role.
j. The Courts have been given powers to remove someone who was granted probate, or defer such appointment, where it is found that they are not fit and proper for the role.
k. It is now an offence punishable by imprisonment for a period of two years or a fine of UGX 960,000/= or both, where an Executor or Executrix misapplies the estate causing its loss or damage, before the Grant of Probate.
l. The validity of a Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration is for a period of two years f rom the date when they are granted. m. No disposal of estate property shall be done without the consent of the spouses and lineal descendants of the deceased persons. Where the beneficiaries are minors, the guardians of the minors shall give consent.
n. Where there are several Administrators and Executors and Executrices, the powers should be exercised jointly and all such persons shall sign all the documents necessary for the administration of the estate.
o. Where a person misapplies the estate of the deceased person, subjecting it to loss or damage, or causes a loss as a result of negligence, such person shall have committed an offence and liable to imprisonment for a period of three years or to a fine not exceeding UGX 2m/=. The court shall in addition order the person to make good the loss or damage occasioned to the estate.
Where someone dies without leaving a Will, the following shall be the manner in which their property shall be distributed;
- The spouse shall receive 20%.
- The dependent relative shall receive 4%
- The lineal descendants shall receive 75% and,
- The customary heir shall receive 1%.
iii.Where such person leaves no surviving spouse or dependent relative capable of taking a proportion of his or property, that proportion shall go to lineal descendants.
- The spouse shall receive 50%.
- The dependent relative shall receive 49% and
- The customary heir shall receive 1%.
However, where the surviving spouse has been absent on an approved course of study in an educational institution, or the intestate was, at the time of his or her death, the one who had separated from the surviving spouse a member of the same household, then the surviving spouse would be entitled to their portion.
x.A Will obtained by fraud, undue influence, duress, coercion, mistake of fact or abuse of position of trust or vulnerability shall be void.
xi.A gift made to anyone in contemplation of death may within 6 months of the recovery of the donor, be resumed by the donor. Such gift does not take effect if the donor recovers f rom the illness during which it was made.
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