A Mpango wa Kando is a Kenyanese term for a mistress of a married man. The Law of Succession in Kenya is favourable to mistresses and in some occasions can equate them to wives. Here is a guide for mpango wa kando’s who are hoping to inherit from their married lovers.

  • He might be able to leave you a house he bought while married.

Property purchased during a marriage is usually considered as matrimonial property. Matrimonial property includes property jointly owned and acquired during the marriage. Where matrimonial property is acquired during a marriage in the name of one spouse, it is assumed that it is held in trust for the other spouse. To avoid the trust the mistress would bear the burden of proving that the wife did not make any monetary or non-monetary contribution to acquisition or improvement of the property.

However succession law states that a testator can bequeath any property that they were legally competent to freely dispose during their lifetime. Succession law arguably supercedes any other law when considering how property should be bequeathed. This means that if the married man wrote a will where the mistress was gifted a house, then she might succeed inheriting it..

  • You might be considered a wife if he paid dowry

The law of succession can still consider a mpango wa kando as a wife even if her lover was previously married in a civil or church wedding. The mistress however must be more than just a girlfriend or someone who lives with him. There should be evidence that the man had gone through a customary dowry process for his mistress. As a wife for the purposes of succession, the mistress would be entitled to inherit if her lover died without a will.

  • You can still get something even if you’re left out of the will

Although the law allows a person, the freedom to dispose of their free property as they wish in their will, this freedom is not absolute. Dependants to the deceased may also apply for provision where they are dissatisfied with how the testator distributed his estate in his will or how rules of intestacy would affect their provision.

If a man by his will disinherits his wife who was dependant on him during his lifetime, the court will interfere with his freedom to dispose of his property by making reasonable provision for the disinherited wife and make reasonable provision for the dependent children.

However there are only two categories of people who qualify to be dependants: the spouse or former spouse and the children and extended family to the 1st degree.

Keep these in mind if you are hoping to inherit from your deceased lover.

Do you have a legal matter relating to wills or succession in Kenya? Contact our experts for assistance or call 0708 111 222.

Harry Karanja
Harry KaranjaManaging Partner
Harry Karanja is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya with diplomas in Communication, IT and Consultancy and 13 years experience in commercial law and dispute resolution.