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Ghana

Prácticas de hecho en herencia/sucesión

 

One of the most important ways women may acquire land is through inheritance, even though women’s inheritance rights are severely limited in both patrilineal and matrilineal systems (11). According to customary law, a widow is not considered to be part of her husband’s family and therefore is not entitled to any property of her deceased husband. In fact, as land is considered as coming from the lineage, it remains in the lineage, usually through the male, and will not pass to the female spouse (14). Widows with children are generally permitted to continue farming on their husbands’ land after his death as they raise the children. However, widows without children are usually not permitted to stay and use the land of their husband, which is generally inherited by a brother (14).

In terms of child’s inheritance, in patrilineal communities preference is usually given to sons over daughters, even if the sons are younger than the daughters (14).

Among matrilineal communities, upon the death intestate of a man, his individually acquired property becomes family property and is distributed to his family in accordance with customary rules. Under the system, the composition of the man’s matrilineal family does not include his wife and children. They are thus not entitled to succeed to any specific portions of the intestate’s estate even though they certain limited rights with regard to maintenance and residence in the matrimonial home. Thus, while women benefit in some cases from matrilineal inheritance, they generally do so as lineage members and not as wives or children, if the parent involved is a man (11).

The Anlo communities that live in the southern zone of the Volta Region, practice an inheritance custom called grandma land, by which land goes from mothers to daughters. Grandma lands refer to lands that were formerly given to women known by the name of Fiasidi. The Fiasidi were privileged and respected women of the community who received deity lands, which they could cultivate while serving in the shrine. They were also given additional land in exchange for their services, which they could pass on to their children, often their daughters. As a consequence of increasing land scarcity, beginning in the 19th century, men started using grandma lands for the cultivation of cash crops eventually gaining more access to and control over these lands (14).

Fuentes: los números entre paréntesis (*) se refieren a las fuentes que están en la sección de Bibliografía