Eight-year old girl is Kenya’s newest tycoon (Grandma worked at NYS)
The High Court has allowed an eight-year-old girl to control a multi-million-shilling estate owned by her deceased grandparent who worked in the National Youth Service.
The girl, named RMM in court papers, will co-own the property with six other beneficiaries, who are her relatives. She was declared a co-administrator to represent her late father, as the Environment and Lands Court blocked other members of the family and beneficiaries of the property from dispossessing her.
However, her interests in the estate will be held in trust for her by her mother, who was also separately listed as a beneficiary.
The estate comprises properties such as two plots in Narumoru town, Nyeri, with rental houses, one parcel of land in Juja, two other plots in Mavoko, an undisclosed amount of money in Postbank and Equity Bank and gratuity at NYS.
The minor acquired the property since her father, the only son of the deceased, died while serving in the army before the property had been distributed.
She sued through her mother in 2014, complaining that two siblings of her grandmother had denied her an equal right to inherit the estate and recognise her as a co-administrator.
Her mother complained that other family members accessed the deceased’s estate without the involvement of herself and her child yet they were beneficiaries of the estate.
In addition, the court heard, the grandparent, who passed away in November 2013, had appointed the minor as her next-of-kin to her employer, the NYS, yet one of the relatives had arrogated to herself an equal share of the deceased’s benefits from the said employer.
In her testimony, the mother told the court that the relatives neither informed her that they were filing the succession case nor did they mention her in any court documents.
She said she learnt about the case when the estate had been distributed and she was disinherited.
She further stated that the relatives withdrew money from the deceased’s Equity Bank account amounting to Sh2.1 million belonging to the estate and only gave her Sh250,000.
The court heard that the respondents had also allocated themselves the minor’s inheritance given to her during the lifetime of the deceased made up of the money at NYS. She, however, said that she had been given Sh350,000 from the deceased’s dues from NSSF.
On cross-examination, she stated that she had not remarried.
The relatives conceded that they never disclosed to the court that the minor had a living parent. They also responded that the minor’s mother is not entitled to any share of the deceased’s estate, a submission that the court rejected.
Justice Teresia Matheka ruled that according to Law of Succession Act, “a grandchild is a direct heir to the estate of the grandparent where the parent predeceased the grandparent.”
“The minor herein got into the shoes of her deceased’s father upon his demise, acquiring equal rights with the respondents to apply for the letters of administration as they fall in the same degree of consanguinity,” said Justice Matheka.
The judge noted that the minor ought to have been informed of and involved in the succession proceedings through the mother, since the mother, being married to the deceased’s son, deserved a mention.