Succession is the process by which all the earthly property of the deceased is dealt with. Succession results into inheritance. Inheritance is the transfer of rights of property from the dead person to a successor. According to the law in Uganda, men and women are entitled to equal rights in all matters. All forms of discrimination based on gender are outlawed. It is therefore no longer disputed that women and can own property individually because women and men have equal rights under inheritance. For purposes of Succession in Uganda, unlike other countries, there is no difference between “Legitimate” and “Illegitimate” children when it comes to property distribution after one’s death. This means that all children are equal, whether born in or outside wedlock. They, therefore, have equal property rights.
The law in Uganda provides that where there is a will, clan members cannot participate in the distribution of property. However, where there is no will, clan elders can participate in the distribution, and the law limits their participation. The clan may agree on the election of a customary heir. The role of the heir is to manage the deceased’s property and not own the property. The heir holds the property in trust of the rest of the beneficiaries.
A will is a document written by a now-dead person during his or her lifetime clearly outlining his/her wishes concerning the distribution of his/her property. The importance of a will is that it prevents bitter conflicts that usually arise upon death related to the distribution of the dead person’s property. A person must write a will while they are still alive to avoid conflicts in his or her family.
Where a person dies without a will, usually the relatives struggle over the dead person’s property where there is no will. Where the deceased left no will, such death should be reported to the government. The responsible government office is the office of the Administrator-General. This office supports and supervises the distribution of property where there is no will.