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High Court landmark ruling on inheritance wills after a challenge by a Mutare widow who had been excluded from her late husband estate
In what is a landmark ruling by the High Court on inheritance willsj High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo ruled that a will can be declared invalid and overturned or amended if it excludes the surviving spouse and/or children.
This resulted from a court challenge made by a Mutare widow Ms Lily Lilian Nyamushanya whose late husband Pythias Nyamushanya’s will excluded her from her his estate. Her late husband also did not leave anything for his two biological children in his Will.
The High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo ruled that disinheriting the surviving children from his will is an infringement of Section 86 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo declared that a will can be declared invalid and overturned or amended if it excludes the surviving spouse and/or children and ruled that Nyamushanya’s widow is the sole beneficiary of the matrimonial home. The Judge also directed that the couple’s two children, who had been disinherited from the Will, should benefit from the estate. Part of Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo’s ruling reads as follows:
1) The portion of the Will dealing with the matrimonial home is set aside and the first applicant (Mrs Nyamushanya) is declared the sole beneficiary of the matrimonial property; namely stand Number 1716 Umtali Township, also known as Number 7 Bain Drive, Morningside, Mutare,” she said.
2) The fourth and fifth respondents (the two children) are to benefit as per the distribution plan presented.
All Zimbabweans will realise that there is a law and children and surviving spouses cannot be disinherited willy nilly as has been witnessed time and again, when especially surviving relatives of usually the dead husband suddenly want to move from the villages to live in the lovely home left behind which rightfully should benefit the surving spouse and kids. For the girl child and women, I believe this is a ruling to celebrate. DISCUSS! By Sibusiso Ngwenya
photo-High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo