The High Court in Nyeri has ruled that four sisters should not inherit family property because they disobeyed their father while he was alive.
Efforts by Purity Gathoni, Joyce Murugi, Esther Wanjiru and Caroline Wakaraya to have a share of their late father’s land and capital shares were rejected by court after their elder brother argued that they had been disobedient to the deceased.
Justice Jairus Ngaah at the High Court in Nyeri ruled that the daughters had no right to inherit property of one they disobeyed.
The court ruled that the administration of the estate belonged to the surviving spouse and said the sisters will be locked out of the will.
“How close a child or children were to their deceased parent or how far they were alienated from him or her are some of the matters that the court is enjoined to take into account in an application for appointment for a share of the estate,” said the judge.
The four sisters had moved to court seeking a share of land and shares owned by their father, the late Njari Karonji. Mr Karonji died in 2006 aged 86.
Ms Gathoni told the court that the deceased had different land parcels which he had distributed to his sons, leaving out the four daughters. Daughters have a right to inherit property under the Constitution.
However, their brother Duncan Wanderi convinced the court that his sisters forfeited their right to claim any share of the deceased’s estate since they disobeyed the deceased and were, in a way, estranged from him.
Mr Wanderi said the deceased had distributed part of his property by way of gifts to his sons and retained one parcel of land for his own use and occupation.
The deceased, the court heard, gave the piece of land to Mr Wanderi except that he was not able to transfer it to his own name in his father’s lifetime.
He maintained that the piece of land was his because he took care of his deceased father and continued to take care of his mother. The family, the widow Elishiba Njoki Njari and her 10 children had been involved in dispute since October 2009 over sharing of the properties.
Ms Njari and son Wanderi filed an affidavit in court petitioning for letters of administration of the deceased’s estate.
Justice Ngaah noted that the family members were unable to distribute the estate.
The court ordered that the property in dispute — Kirimukuyu/Mbogoini/837 and the bank shares— be transferred to Ms Njari.
“The law as spelt out in the Law of Succession Act is clear that the administration is entitled to her deceased husband’s estate subject,” stated the judge.
One of the daughters, Mary Nyaguthi, testified that the father directed that if any of his daughters’ marriage collapsed and returned to her parents’, Mr Wanderi would settle them.