Enwealth Financial Services
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
Simon Wafubwa
Strathmore University and Institute of Human Resource Management

Family fights over inheritance spurred by lack of a will- Survey

While many Kenyans subscribe to the view of making money to afford a degree of comfort and leave some wealth to their children, there is a curious group that would rather gobble up everything they make during their lifetime.

This is according to a new study by pensions administrator Enwealth Financial Services, which also found that six out of every 10 people in Kenya do not have a will, exposing their spouses and children to conflicts upon their death.

The report found that while a majority of the people planned to leave their wealth accumulated over time to family and even charitable causes, there were others who did not plan to leave their wealth to anyone.

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The report shows that 84 per cent of people sampled for the survey plan to leave an inheritance to their children or charitable causes while a sizeable 16 per cent do not have such plans.

“We have noted that there are two extreme views towards the idea of leaving an inheritance. At one extreme are people who deliberately save and make investments in order to leave as much as possible to future generations or for altruistic reasons,” said Enwealth Chief Executive Simon Wafubwa yesterday.

“On the other end are people who try to use up all their assets during their lifetime, leaving nothing for the future generations.”

According to the survey, the respondents said the most important reason why they want to leave an inheritance for their children was so they could get a good education, closely followed by the need to leave a business that thrives even in their absence.

The survey also found that an alarming 60 per cent of Kenyans do not have a written will, leading to increased cases of conflict and uncertainty relating to wealth distribution after death.

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According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 26.2 per cent of all households in Kenya have experienced conflicts due to succession.

This is despite over 80 per cent of Kenyans acknowledging the importance of having a will.

The Enwealth survey sought to analyse the behaviour and attitudes of Kenyans towards wealth creation and inheritance and was done in partnership with Strathmore University and Institute of Human Resource Management.

“As financial planners, we increasingly witness serious consequences for not putting an estate plan in place. Some of the common reasons why most Kenyans do not have a will include cultural beliefs relating to death, lack of trust and awareness, and fear of legal expenses,” said Mr Wafubwa.

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The study, which also sought to find out the asset types Kenyans hold, found that a majority of the assets are held in land and real estate, closely followed by pension funds, savings in saccos and cash.

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