HELP! MY UNCLES ARE DRIVING US INTO POVERTY
My father died when I was 12 years old and my mother is really struggling to raise my siblings and me. This is despite the fact that my father had lots of property which I understand my uncles forcibly took from my mother. I am angry and bitter at how my relatives are treating us. As a young man, I fear that I may get into bad habits so that I can afford some of the things that my mother cannot provide for us because of poverty. How can I help my mother get back our family property?
T .O, 16 years old.
Sorry about your dad and sorry too about the struggles your family is facing. To help your siblings, you must first find out if your father left a will or not. A will is a document that one writes before he or she dies stating how his/her property will be shared amongst his dependants. If your father had left a will, then his property should be shared according to his instructions in the will.
If he died without a will however, then you will have to rely on the Laws on Succession. These laws are contained in the Law of Succession Act and they determine how the property of a deceased person is to be managed. Under this law, your father’s property will go to his immediate family (spouse and children) and also to those who depended on him directly during his lifetime.
Now, seeing as the law is on your side, the next stage is to lawyer up!! The lawyer will ask the court for an order stopping your relatives from interfering with your father’s property. This order will last until the court decides on how your father’s property will be divided. Once the order is in place, your mother can then lodge a formal case in court seeking to have authority to manage your father’s estate.
By law, your mother is entitled to all the personal and household effects of your late father. She will however, be holding the property in trust for you and your siblings until you become adults. As a caretaker of the property she is not allowed to sell any part of that property unless the court grants her permission to do so. She can therefore, always apply to get funds from the trust for your maintenance, school fees and other needs. After you have attained 18 years, your mother can divide the property amongst you and your siblings. As adults, you can each choose how to manage your inheritance.
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