The High Court has made a landmark ruling concerning inheritance wills after a challenge made by a Mutare widow Ms Lily Lilian Nyamushanya who had been excluded from her husband Mr Pythias Nyamushanya’s estate. Nyamushanya did not leave anything for his two biological children in his Will.
High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo ruled that a will can be declared invalid and overturned or amended if it excludes the surviving spouse and/or children. Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo ruled that disinheriting the surviving spouse and the two children was unconstitutional and an infringement of Section 86 of the Constitution. She declared Nyamushanya’s widow as the sole beneficiary of the matrimonial home and directed that the two children, who had been left out of the Will, should benefit from the estate. Part of Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo’s ruling reads:
1) The portion of the Will dealing with the matrimonial home is set aside and the first applicant (Mrs Nyamushanya) is declared the sole beneficiary of the matrimonial property; namely stand Number 1716 Umtali Township, also known as Number 7 Bain Drive, Morningside, Mutare,” she said.
2) The fourth and fifth respondents (the two children) are to benefit as per the distribution plan presented.