Intestate Succession in Ghana before and after PNDCL 111, 1985

17 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2021

See all articles by Joshua Kweku Aba

Joshua Kweku Aba

Central University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 31, 2020


The study investigated intestate succession in Ghana before and after PNDCL 111, 1985. To satisfy the objectives of the research, qualitative research was held. The main objective is to find out if PNDC Law 111 fully promotes women’s property inheritance rights by relating it to international human rights protocols. The research is important because it highlights some of the weaknesses of law 111 on women’s rights of intestate property inheritance; and calls for necessary amendment or law reform. The Intestate Succession Act, 1985, (PNDC Law 111) was introduced in Ghana to curb the injustices, which the traditional customary practices mated of spouses after a man dies intestate. Before the coming into force of the Act people who died intestate had their self-acquired properties shared according to their family lineage. These customary practices normally rendered the children and the spouse of the deceased man with nothing and hence the introduction of the Law. The Law only becomes applicable when a man dies intestate. Upon all the significant successes the Law has chalked over the years, the Intestate Succession Act could not precisely address the veracity of polygamy. Where a deceased man in his lifetime had multiple wives, the courts interpret the succession law as granting the household chattels and one house to all of the deceased’s wives and children as tenants-in-common. If the woman was not lawfully or customarily married that woman may not be protected as the Law did not give any significant definition to who a spouse is as it does not include cohabitation. This is an area that the Parliament of Ghana needs to look at.

Keywords: Interstate Succession, PNDCL 111, Ghana, traditional customary practice, succession law

JEL Classification: Z18

Suggested Citation

Kweku Aba, Joshua, Intestate Succession in Ghana before and after PNDCL 111, 1985 (May 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Joshua Kweku Aba (Contact Author)

Central University - Faculty of Law ( email )

New Delhi, Haryana

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