By Harold Ayodo
Some investors with no or little formal education give instructions orally on how their property should be distributed upon death.
They cannot write Wills detailing people who should inherit their residential and commercial buildings in major towns.
Some can only speak in their mother tongues, which does not deny them ownership rights over their property.
According to the Law of Succession Act, a Will refers to all that a person wishes to happen upon death.
Legally, illiterate investors can issue instructions in mother tongue on how their property should be divided when they die.
Courts have in the past ruled in favour of deceased investors who gave verbal instructions in vernacular — and reduced to writing — on disposal of their property.
According to precedents of the High Court, such written instructions amount to an oral Will provided that it was made before two witnesses.
Take the case of the late Rufus Ng’ethe Munyua who gave instructions on disposal of his estate amongst his wives and children.
The person who received the verbal instructions wrote them down before Munyua died a few days later. The High Court ruled that the writing amounted to an oral Will.
In a recent landmark ruling at the Court of Appeal, the three judges ruled that verbal instructions in Kikuyu language to dispose property were legal.
In this case, the deceased who was illiterate, called two people to his home and requested them to write down his wishes.