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Last modified: September 26, 2011
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Sharing Rule:

According to the Law of Succession Act 1981, female and male children (both married and unmarried) inherit from their parents equally.



No will
According to the Law of Succession Act 1981, female and male children (both married and unmarried) inherit from their parents equally.

If there is a surviving spouse, he/she gets an absolute interest in the deceased's personal and household effects, and a life interest in the rest of the estate (e.g. land, house, business, etc.), although this cannot be disposed of without court permission.

The children inherit when the surviving spouse dies (and in case of the surviving spouse being a woman: remarries).

If the deceased did not have a surviving spouse or children, the estate goes to the father of the deceased.

If there is no living father, it goes to the mother.

If both are deceased, it goes to the brothers and sisters of the deceased and in case there aren't any alive, to their children.

If there are no living brothers and sisters, it goes to halfbrothers and sisters, or their children if these have deceased.

Otherwise, it goes to the relatives who are in the nearest degree on consanguinity up to and including the sixth degree, in equal shares.

Failing survival in any kindred, the estate devolves upon the state.

Polygamous marriages

In case of polygamous marriages, the estate is divided among the households according to the number of children in each household. There is no provision for additional protection of property rights of spouses who were married for longer periods and contributed more towards accumulated property.


If there is a will, property is divided according to it. A will is easy to make. The testator (one leaving the will) must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses, who will in turn attest the testator's signature. Each of the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator.

Islamic law

An amendment to the Law of Successions Act exempts Muslims from the substantive provisions. According to Islamic law, a widow receives one quarter of a husband's estate and sonse receive double portions to daughter of their father's property.


Chronic Poverty Research Centre, Challenges and opportunities in inheritance rights in Kenya, February 2011.

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