The gendered inheritance: A case study of Intestacy among Civil Servants in selected Districts
Moono, Richwell Terry
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Background:The title of my study is entitled “The Gendered Inheritance: A Case Study of Intestacy among Civil Servants in selected Districts.” This study’s general objective was to explore the use of written Wills, by both women and men, in the civil service, for property distribution for inheritance. The main focus was to explore to the existence of any beliefs about a written Will. It was not clear the extent to which civil servants used the Wills and Administration of Testate Estates Act, to write Wills to determine the distribution of their property for inheritance. Study Site:The study was conducted in Zambia in selected districts of Lusaka, Kafue and Kabwe. The participants were drawn from: Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education; Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication; Ministry of Tourism and Arts; Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Ministry of Health.Study Design: The study used a qualitative paradigm. Random sampling was used to select the study ministries. Convenient sampling was used to select the three study districts, while purposive sampling was used to select the study participants. The sample size was thirty six (n = 36) of which eighteen were male and eighteen were female. Data Collection: Primary and secondary data were collected. Primary data were collected through thirty six personal interviews using an interview guide. Secondary data were collected through the review of the Wills register at the Lusaka High Court. Data Analysis: Data were analysed qualitatively. Interview data were transcribed verbatim. Reponses were grouped according to the questions they addressed. The data were coded according to generated data sets. Themes were developed from these data sets. Contextual meanings were extracted from the themes. Findings and Recommendations: The study found a low rate of writing Wills. There was still reliance on provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. Out of thirty six participants only five had written Wills (three females and two males). The reasons for this were varied and categorised into superstitious and non-superstitious beliefs. The superstitious beliefs were that writing of Wills would cause death either by bewitchment or by the power of the Will. The non-superstitious beliefs included: lack of property (economic); individuals still wanting to bear children (social); lack of legal procedural knowledge for processing a written Will (legal); emotional attachment to the kin and kith; and lack of lived experience of writing a Will (role model). It was recommended that property inheritance be integrated in the social education to sensitise people of the procedure and importance of legal passage of property. Further, the Wills register must provide more data such as the sex, employment status (public service or private sector) and names of depositors to provide meaningful data. Conclusion:Intestacy is still prevalent as there is still reliance on the provision of Intestate Succession Act and prevalence of various superstitions and non-superstitious beliefs.