Importance of Informed Choices when Making a Will in Uganda
by Lucas Spaeth, ABM consulting attorney
Ugandan succession law regarding wills is, for the most part, straightforward and simple. There are, however, several unforeseeable aspects of Ugandan succession law that most people would find surprising. Here are a few of them:

  • It is impossible to disinherit dependent relatives under Ugandan succession law. relatives include your spouse, minor children, and any adult children, parents or grandparents who are completely dependent on you. Even if you explicitly disinherit them from your will, the Court has power to order your executor to provide for their maintenance out of the assets of your estate, even at the expense of your other bequests.
  • Your existing will is automatically revoked when you get married. This means that if you created a will before you got married, you better write another one after your wedding. 
  • A person who signs the will as a witness to it cannot then receive anything from the will. If anything is bequeathed to them in the will, they lose their right to it.
  • If spouses are separated at the time one of them dies the survivor is not entitled to his or her share of the intestate estate.
  • Illegitimate children are only entitled to a share in an intestate estate if the father recognizes and treats the child as his own.
  • If a person making a will has a living relative which is a living nephew or niece or closer, then they cannot make a bequest to a religious or charitable cause; unless they had executed the will a year before death and deposited the will in the public will depository.
These are just a few of the unforeseeable aspects of Ugandan succession law. What it means for property-owning Ugandans is that they should take special care in planning their estate and making their wills. Succession of property after death is always a messy business, but a little advance planning can keep it neat and tidy.