SUCCESS STORY: About the Importance of legalising a marriage - Justice Centres Uganda

SUCCESS STORY: About the Importance of legalising a marriage

In this story, we see how Cecilia struggled to get a share of her deceased partner’s property simply because they were not legally married. Forty-two-year-old Cecilia lived with Ethan and they had two children aged 5 and 7. However, Ethan was legally married to Agatha before he met Cecilia. Ethan sadly passed away without leaving a will which meant that Agatha and her two children were the known beneficiaries of his estate.

Agatha (the widow) petitioned for letters of administration without notifying Cecilia. Learning about this, Cecilia sought help from the area chairperson but she didn’t receive much help. To make matters worse, Cecilia’s friends told her she wouldn’t receive anything since she was just a cohabitee even though her two little children needed support. Ethan had left behind land and property as well as a substantial amount of money at the bank from selling a house a few months before his death. Furthermore, he owned a house in Luwero which Ethan had built for Cecilia and the kids.

The only problem was that there was no document which stated that the house was hers. She felt hopeless and therefore sought help at JCU Mmengo. To start the process a legal officer lodged a caveat on the grant of the letters of administration to Agatha stating the beneficiaries’ interest in Ethan’s estate. The case ended up in court and after some time a consent judgment was entered.

The result was amazing! Cecilia got a share of the money from Ethan’s accounts and she was also given the residential house in Luwero. Furthermore, Cecilia received UGX 49,000,000 from Ethan’s work place, as part of Ethan’s estate because he was working with them till the point of his death. I’ve been given UGX 49 million shillings from Ethan’s workplace which I’m going to use to construct some rental houses for my two children. I also want to set up a small business like a saloon where I will be able to get some money to feed my children.” Cecilia was amazed by how many things she and her children received which was all made possible with support from JCU.