Proposed law makes writing of wills compulsory for couples

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 00:00 |
Social Protection PS Nelson Marwa with Jacinta Mwende from the Labour ministry at KICD, yesterday. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

Married couples could soon be required to write wills if a proposal by government to establish alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in marriages becomes a reality.

The Principal Secretary in the State Department of Social Protection Nelson Marwa expressed concern that many families were embroiled in property disputes following the demise of their kin.

“The government cannot achieve any meaningful agenda if families are not living in harmony and that is why we have seen the need to come up with a comprehensive alternative policy for some of these problems,” he said. 

Marwa made the remarks yesterday during a stakeholders’ validation forum on the draft National Policy on Family Promotion and Protection at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD). 

Sheikh Yusuf Abuhamza of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) said the first phase should be to have every marriage registered.

He said parties would be informed about the need to register wills during the registration of marriages.

“Going by the policy, it is a good thing but we should begin from the roots. The initial stage would be to ensure every marriage is registered and that they hold a legal certificate.

It is from the registration stage that we will have awareness of wills being brought on board,” he said.

The draft policy  calls on couples to embrace alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to keep them out of court battles.

A human rights activist, Loise Wambui, said young people planning to marry should be guided to write a document that would guide them on inheritance. 

The 30-page draft states that if the Bill, which seeks to recognise the family as an essential unit of society is adopted, it will also help deal with poverty.

“The family as the most fundamental unit of society provides the platform for human development that will propel the development of the nation.

This will be achieved by developing and implementing policies, strategies, programmes, services and supporting infrastructure to empower families,” the draft reads in part. 

Statistics from the Judiciary Family division estimates that in the last few year years close to Sh5 billion has been saved as most families are embracing alternative family resolution disputes measures.

However, the proposal still has a long way to go as most families still consider it a taboo to write a will, with many terming it as “digging own graves”.

Marwa said they would seek approval of the Bill after the two-week public deliberation and was optimistic of its enactment before the end of the year.

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