Smooth Land Succession Process In Kenya (A Guide)

Smooth Land Succession Process In Kenya (A Guide)

Smooth Land Succession Process In Kenya

Land succession in Kenya refers to the process of transferring land ownership after the death of the land owner. It involves obtaining necessary legal documents like the death certificate, wills, letters of administration and undergoing court procedures to lawfully transfer the land to the rightful heirs.

The process aims to ensure a smooth transition of land ownership according to the law and the deceased’s wishes to prevent disputes.

However, land succession disputes are common in Kenya due to issues like unclear wills, illegal land transfers before death and competing interests among family members. The succession process can be complex, expensive and take years to resolve in courts. This affects many families and disrupts the economic productivity of the land.

To enable smooth land succession, experts recommend open communication in families about wills, ensuring wills are updated and specific, pre-emptive land transfers and co-ownership arrangements. Public awareness on land laws and succession procedures also helps. Alternative dispute resolution techniques like mediation and use of elders can resolve conflicts faster.

The government is also undertaking reforms like digitization of lands records and succession proceedings to quicken processes. The Law of Succession Act and succession court procedures are also being reviewed to simplify documentation and court processes for efficiency. Strengthening local administrative structures to aid in land transfers is another initiative.

In conclusion, a multi-pronged approach is required to tackle challenges in the land succession process in Kenya.

More open dialogue on succession planning, simplified legal procedures and robust administrative structures can enable smooth transfers of land to rightful heirs. This will curb disputes and make land economically productive.

Steps In Land Succession In Kenya

The process of land succession in Kenya is a traditional right to inherit property for the purpose of preserving the family heritage. It is the most common channel by which one can acquire or legally inherit and own land in Kenya.

However, many Kenyans avoid following the legal process of land succession due to its perceived complexity, inaccessibility, and cost.

The Kenyan law of succession prescribes the rules which determine what ought to happen to a person’s estate after his or her death. It is also referred to as the law of inheritance i.e., transmission of property rights from the dead to the living.

The rules of succession identify the beneficiaries entitled to succeed to the deceased’s estate and the extent of the benefits they are to receive.

The first step in the process of land succession is to obtain the deceased person’s death certificate as proof of their death.

This is usually issued by the registrar of births and deaths of the respective sub-counties. The applicant needs to furnish the registrar with the deceased’s identity card and a letter from the chief where necessary.

After obtaining the death certificate, the estate of the deceased has to agree on how the land will be divided and Form RL 19 is used to transfer land from the deceased’s name to that of the court-appointed administrators.

This form gives the administrator power to administer and distribute the estate as agreed.

Upon filing and payment of the requisite fees, the petition is advertised in the Kenya Gazette. Any person with an objection to the grant has an opportunity at this point to raise the same. Thirty days after Gazettement, an application will be made to the High Court.

The administrator then files the Confirmation of Grant with Form RL39 to change the property’s title to their name in a process called Transmission. During this process, the land is transferred as per the mutation agreed upon earlier. The administrator then files Form RL42 to transfer the property to its new owners – the beneficiaries.

At this point, the completion documents are presented to the Commissioner of Lands, and they include Form RL42, the new land number as per the mutation, Confirmation of Grant, and the Kenya gazette notice.

When the commissioner is satisfied that all these documents are as they should be, they’ll issue new title deeds in the names of the beneficiaries, who are now at liberty to do with their bequest as they wish.

It’s important to note that the relationship of the parties in land succession matters a lot and there has to be a reconciliation for a smooth process without hardliners as going to court leads to conclusions and decisions that are binding and supersedes all other institutions.

The local administrators, led by chiefs, should inform the community to understand land succession—starting from the introductory letter and when to commence the exercise—once a person dies to reduce the increasing land inheritance rows.

Ways To Avoid Land Succession Disputes

Here are some ways to avoid land succession disputes in Kenya:

  1. Have clear and updated wills – Unclear or outdated wills are a major cause of succession disputes. Ensure wills clearly specify land inheritance plans and are updated as circumstances change.
  2. Discuss succession plans openly – Open communication within families about land inheritance plans helps avoid surprises and disputes later.
  3. Consult lawyers – Consult lawyers to ensure wills and succession plans properly follow legal procedures and documentation. This avoids technical issues later.
  4. Pre-emptive land transfers – Transferring land to intended heirs while alive avoids disputes after death. However, tax and legal implications need consideration.
  5. Co-own land – Having joint ownership of land e.g. between spouses ensures smooth transfer to the surviving owner.
  6. Use family mediation – In case of disputes, opt for mediation to resolve issues amicably through consensus. This is faster and preserves family relations.
  7. Inform local administration – Informing local chiefs and elders on intended land succession plans aids in smooth transitions later.
  8. Record family history relating to land – Having documented history of land acquisition and transfers helps resolve disputes over claims.
  9. Manage family expectations – Clear communication on land succession plans helps manage all family members’ expectations and minimize disputes.
  10. Update land records – Ensure land records and registrations are updated for transparency and to prevent fraudulent transfers before death.


Related Posts

error: Content is protected !!