Property, Estates and Wills

All about Property, Estates and Wills in Zambia, Property and Ownership, What Happens if I Do Not Have a Will?, and more on Mywage Zambia.

What does it mean to die intestate?

According to Chapter 59 (Volume 5) of the Intestate Succession Act, a person dies intestate if at the time of his death he has not made a will disposing of his estate.

How is the estate distributed?

Section five of the Act, the estate shall be distributed in the following manner:

Spouse: 20 percent of the estate shall be passed to the surviving spouse; except where more than one widow survives the intestate. In that case, 20 percent of the estate shall be distributed among them proportional to the duration of their respective marriages to the deceased. However, other factors such as the widow's contribution to the deceased's property may be taken into account when justice so requires.

Children: 50 percent of the estate shall devolve upon the children in such proportions as are commensurate with a child's age or educational needs or both.
Parents and dependants of the intestate: Each shall receive 20 percents and 10 percent respectively. In respect of a minor, the mother, father or guardian shall hold his share of the estate in trust until he ceases to be a minor. But a priority dependant whose portion of the estate is unreasonably small having regard to his degree of dependence on the deceased, shall have the right to apply to a court for adjustment to be made to the portions inherited.

What if the intestate had no spouse?

The portion of the estate which the spouse would have inherited shall be distributed to the children in such proportions as are commensurate with a child's age or educational needs or both.

And what if the intestate had no spouse or children?

The aggregate portion of the estate which the spouse and children would have inherited shall be distributed equally to the parents of the deceased. And if the intestate had no spouse, children or parents, the estate shall be distributed to dependants in equal shares. In the same vain if they had no spouse, children, parents, or dependants, the estate shall be distributed to near relatives in equal shares. But if the intestate had no spouse, children, parents, dependants or near relatives, the estate shall be bona vacantia and shall handed to the State.

What about in a case where the Interstate had a spouse, children, dependants but no parents?

According to Part 11 of the Act, the proportion of the estate which the parents would have inherited shall be shared equally between the surviving spouse and children and the dependants. But if the Intestate had a spouse, parents, dependants but no children, the portion of the estate which the children would have inherited shall be distributed to the surviving spouse, parents and dependants in proportion to their shares of the estate. If the intestate had a spouse, children, parents but no dependants, the remaining portion shall be distributed equally to the parents.

And what if the intestate had a spouse and dependants, but no children or parents?

The portion of the estate which the children and parents would have inherited shall be distributed to the surviving spouse and the dependants in proportion to their shares of the estate as specified in section five. In a case where there is a spouse and children but no parents or dependants, their portion shall be shared equally among the surviving spouse and the children. And if the deceased, had a spouse but no children, parents or dependants, the portion of the estate which the children, parents and dependants would have inherited shall be distributed equally between the surviving spouse and the near relatives.

What about in a case where intestate of a monogamous marriage is survived by a spouse or child or both?

The spouse or child or both of them, as the case may be, shall be entitled equally and absolutely to the personal assets of the intestate.

What happens if the estate includes a house?

The surviving spouse or child or both, shall be entitled to that house. But where there is more than one surviving spouse or child or both, they shall hold the house as tenants in common. And the surviving spouse shall have a life interest in that house which shall determine upon that spouse's remarriage.
However, where the estate includes more than one house, the surviving spouse or child or both shall determine which of the houses they shall occupy and the remainder shall form part of the estate.

What if the intestate is survived by more than one widow or a child from any of them?

Section 10 states that, each widow or her child or both of them shall be entitled -absolutely to the homestead property of the intestate but where the total value of the estate does not exceed K30,000 the estate shall devolve upon the surviving spouse or child of the intestate or to both. And where there is no surviving spouse or children, the estate shall be handed to the surviving parent.

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