Till Death Do Us Part? Protecting my family and estate from the Marriages Bill

As a married woman in Zimbabwe you should have every right and reason to be concerned about how the assets that you are accumulating within your marriage are going to be distributed upon your death or your spouse’s demise.

There have been several changes proposed by the new Marriages Bill that would change significantly the marriage laws as we know them in Zimbabwe. The Bill provides that all marriages that are civil and customary have equal status before the law. This is to mean that all parties to these different marriages have equal rights and obligations that accrue to them before the law. The civil marriage therefore will not be superior to other forms of marriages and will apply equally upon death or separation of the spouses.

Another proposed change is that the bill seeks to recognize cohabiting and sharing of property upon breakdown of such a relationship, termed a civil partnership.

Potentially the bill may create an excess of problems to the marriage system and to the distribution of assets upon death or separation. These problems will only manifest themselves upon the death of your partner or yours. Women in civil and customary law unions have to create safety nets for themselves which the law may not specifically provide for them.

As a woman you should therefore guard against such scenarios were you and your children could potentially be disinherited from what is rightfully yours. One of the simplest ways you can protect yourself is to leave behind a will with all your wishes on how your property should be shared.

It is advisable to engage in a meaningful conversation with your spouse regarding your future and your assets, even though the conversation can be hard. Establish what is yours, his and yours together and formulate your will accordingly.

Another way of cushioning yourself against these misfortunes is to create a family trust that will protect all your assets from third parties who haven’t contributed anything in acquiring these assets.

Have  peace of mind knowing that in the event of your death or your spouse’s your family is taken care of, it is not too late to put in these estate planning measures in place. Look no further than the Willing Company, your legacy matters and together we have a responsibility to protect our families for generations to come.

We are Willing … are you?