A voice for the dead

Veronica Gwaze
THE late Sungura artiste Tongai Moyo’s family has been fighting over his Mbizo, Kwekwe home with the heir — Peter Moyo — evicting his siblings. The Dhewa story has ignited fresh conversations on the need to write wills.

A will may help settle such family disputes, especially in cases like that of the Moyos. Zimbabwe Inheritance Services principal administrator Mr Clever Mandizvidza said a will gives a voice to the deceased person.  “If someone dies without a will, the estate will be distributed according to the laws of the State and in this regard, all children and the spouse will benefit,” he said.

“Very few people are writing wills and there is need to raise awareness on such issues. The Wills Act affords every one a right to write a will to avoid family fights over a deceased’s estate.”

Some families fight over deceased people’s estates, with some children surfacing only after the death of their father.

“Without a will, it complicates things. This is why we urge people to write their wills while they still can,” he said.

“If the deceased denied paternity but the child has a birth certificate stating the deceased as the father, then the child is entitled to inheritance.

“There are also instances where children of the deceased are unable to inherit because the deceased never introduced them to the rest of the family, such issues can be easy to deal with if there is a will.”

He also explained that it is lawful for someone to challenge a will if he or she is not satisfied.

“When a relative or a potential beneficiary challenges a will, there is no guarantee to protect those who were nominated in the will. A court will decide whether the will is set aside or not,” said Mr Mandizvidza. Traditionalist Sekuru Elisha Mutanga said inheritance wills are exotic to Africans.  “According to our African tradition, will writing is not in line with our cultural practices. It’s as if someone will be predicting their death.

“Inheritance has always been a closely guarded secret because the deceased siblings’ respected the estate.

“The concept of will writing is part of the now decayed moral fabric,” he said.

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