Children of Deadbeat Dads to Inherit Property in New Succession Bill

Veronica Maina
Nominated Senator Veronica Maina
Veronica Maina

On Thursday, the Senate received the Law of Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2023, prepared by nominated United Democratic Alliance (UDA) senator Veronica Maina. 

The Bill primarily seeks to amend the  Law of Succession Act to ensure that property is distributed equally to all children of a deceased male parent. 

Senator Maina’s argument is that the Act discriminates against children born out of wedlock who are not officially recognised by the father when he is alive. 

If the Bill is passed by Parliament, the fathers popularly known as 'Deadbeat Dads' will have no option but to share property equally among the children.  

An image of the Kenyan Senate in session.
Senators attend a session at Kenya's Senate in 2020
Parliament of Kenya

In the Law of Succession Act, a child belonging to a male parent is described as any child whom he has expressly recognised or in fact accepted as a child of his own or for whom he has voluntarily assumed permanent responsibility. 

“The Kenyan Courts have found it discriminative against adopted children and children who have not been expressly recognised and accepted by their father,” the Bill reads in part. 

Once amended, the Act will comply with the Kenyan Constitution which provides for equal care, protection and responsibility towards children by both parents regardless of their marital status.

In the new amendment, a child will further be recognised as, “an adopted child and a child who is conceived during the lifetime of a deceased person and is subsequently born after the death of the deceased person.”

“The Bill further seeks to protect children of the deceased whose mother was not a wife of the deceased by ensuring that they are considered as additional units and their share of the estate devolves to them at the time of succession,” the Bill reads.

Other amendments to the Act include ensuring that widows and widowers lose life interest in their deceased’s spouses property should they wish to remarry. 

In the Act, only widows lost life interest in instances of remarrying. 

The last amendment to the Act will be to repeal Section 39 which gives fathers priority when it comes to inheriting the property of their deceased child. 

On the Bill, both parents of the deceased child will receive an equal share of the estate. 

Special court proceedings held at the Supreme Court in January 2021.
Special court proceedings held at the Supreme Court in January 2021.
Judiciary Kenya
  • .