Chairman of the Executive Council of LAWA Ghana, Sheila Minkah-Premo says in the new Intestate Succession Bill, no provision has been made for concubines (Baby mamas and side chicks) to benefit from the property of a male lover if he dies intestate.
Interacting with Samson Lardy Anyenini on JoyNews‘ The Law, Sunday, she explained that both the Intestate Succession Bill and the Property Rights of Spouses Bill that regulate inheritance, have not captured these persons because they are not considered spouses.
She revealed that some attempt was made to cover persons who have cohabited with the deceased for about 5 years in the Property Rights of Spouses Bill, but was unsuccessful.
“The big question of whether the mothers of children who were not married to the fathers can benefit, unfortunately, in this current draft, no provision is made for it.
“These two laws based on Article 22 have gone side by side. The Intestate Succession Bill and the Property Rights of Spouses Bill. In an earlier version of the Property Rights of Spouses Bill, an attempt was made to make provision for cohabitees who have lived for five years, but that was strongly objected to. So the last draft of the Property Rights of Spouses Bill, that has been totally taken off. The idea is that, they said, if you look at Article 22, it talks about spouses, it doesn’t talk about anything else,” she said.
Although ‘Baby mamas’ are not catered for, Sheila Minkah-Premo noted that children born out of such relationships are entitled to have a share of the deceased’s properties.
“But in this case, the children will benefit. Remember, the definition of children is children, whether born within or outside a marriage. So the children will benefit.
“But unfortunately, the ‘Baby mama’ and ‘side chicks’ will not benefit, she stressed.
On the show, a viewer sought to know whether the duration of a marriage before a spouse kicks the bucket can prevent the widow or widower from having a share of the deceased’s assets.
In response, Sheila Minkah-Premo explained that once an individual can be proven to have been a spouse of the deceased, he or she is entitled to a share of the property in question regardless of the time they spent married.
“About a man who has been married a long time to his wife, and she dies or divorces him, and he gets married to someone for three months and he dies – too bad, under the law, that person is your new spouse and would inherit the property.
“As to the labels you want to give to the person… It is just fate. I don’t think the person came in with a plan to finish the spouse. Unless it is the person’s plan and you can prove some murder or manslaughter, that’s another thing.
“But so long as the person is the spouse, it doesn’t matter how short the time is. It can even be within a month,” she averred.
The new Intestate Succession Bill proposes a change from distributing the property of the deceased in ratios to percentages.
It also proposes for an estranged spouse (i.e a spouse who has been separated but not divorced) to benefit from the distribution of the property of the deceased spouse.