First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa yesterday began the second phase of her programme on inheritance and property issues at district level, which attracted thousands of men and women to Chipinge Junior School.
The people were equipped with knowledge by experts on property rights and inheritance law.
Amai Mnangagwa conceived the programme after realising that widows, widowers and orphans were losing property after their spouses and parents die.
Following the successful first phase, the First Lady decided to engage people at district level so that information and knowledge reached people in remote areas.
Addressing the gathering, Amai Mnangagwa said; “I am here today with experts from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Master of the High Court and the Law Society of Zimbabwe, who will educate you on what the law says when it comes to inheritance,” she said.
“In most cases if a husband dies, his relatives especially his elder brothers, take over everything despite the fact that the deceased would have left a spouse and children behind. Sometimes the widow might just accept the decision of her in-laws to grab everything she is entitled to inherit, but at law we are saying that is wrong.
“That is why I came up with this programme so that you are educated on your rights. Some are forced into inheriting husbands when theirs die, a move that brings diseases.”
Mr Charles Manhiri from the Ministry of Justice, started by educating people on the Administration of Estates Act (chapter 6:01), which is the major law in terms of administration of deceased estates.
He said the type of marriage that existed between the deceased and the surviving spouse determines how the inheritance issues would be handled.
“The death may occur to a spouse in a marriage under customary law (Customary Marriage Act), General Law (Marriages Act) or unregistered customary law union,” he said.
On the registration of an estate, Mr Manhiri said if the deceased was married under customary law, registration is done at the Magistrates’ Court and if it was general law, it will be registered at the High Court.
On the maintenance claims from estate, Mr Manhiri said the Deceased Persons Family Maintenance Act provides for the making of maintenance claims from the deceased’s estate, but not everyone can claim.
He said only dependants have the privilege so that beneficiaries do not lose out to undeserving people.
Master of the High Court Mr Eldard Mutasa said it was important for people to know the deceased estate laws, adding it is a criminal offence for family members to distribute property of the deceased other than clothes without approval of the Master of the High Court.
Mrs Eustasia Kupara from Legal Resources Foundation represented the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
Manicaland Minister of State Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba also attended the function.
The First Lady donated foodstuffs to those who attended.