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FAQ’s

Intestacy in Kenya

What is the succession term for dying without a will?

If someone dies without a will while leaving an estate, they are said to have died intestate and the circumstances are termed as intestacy.

What are Intestacy laws?

These are inheritance laws in Kenya that are applied if you die without a will. The laws are contained in the Law of Succession Act and under the Probate and Administration Rules and outline the rules of intestacy that apply.

Can there be inheritance without a will?

  • Yes, this is possible and this type of inheritance is called intestate succession.
  • Inheritance by beneficiaries is based on the provisions of the Law of Succession.

What happens if a parent, husband, or father dies without a will?

Inheritance by the beneficiaries and dependants shall be guided by the rules on consanguinity and preference under the Law of Succession.

Distribution of the estate on intestacy?

The spouse and children of the deceased always have prior right to the intestate estate ahead of all other relatives. This is determined by marital status and stations of consanguinity of the beneficiaries – meaning that relatives only inherit in the order in which they are related to the deceased.

What happens if a spouse dies without a will and leaves children?

The remaining spouse is entitled to a life interest in the estate and the remainder shall be distributed equally among the children upon the death of the remaining spouse.

What is the order of inheritance without a will?

The Spouse + Children; or

If the deceased had no children:

the deceased’s father; or if dead

the deceased’s mother; or if dead

the deceased’s siblings; or if dead

the deceased’s children of siblings; or if dead

the deceased’s half siblings; or if dead

any other blood relative.

If the deceased had no relatives, the net estate is put into the Government of Kenya’s Consolidated Fund

 Do spouses automatically inherit the estate of the deceased spouse?

If the deceased dies leaving an intestate estate; any spouse(s) together with the deceased’s children are automatically in line to inherit ahead of all other relatives e.g., siblings, parents, grandparents, etc.

What happens if both parents die without a will leaving a child/children?

If the children are over the age of 18, they are entitled to inherit an equal share of the deceased parents’ combined estate. If any child is below 18 years, their inheritance will be administered in trust until they are over 18 years old.

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