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FamilyLegal Aids

Reasons Why You Should Prepare a WILL and Keep before you Die

Do you want your family to suffer after you are gone? If no, see the reasons why you should prepare a WILL and keep before you Die. I know you still young and vibrant and you are not expecting death so soon. Of course nobody wants to die, but sometimes, something worst do happen even after death. I bet you have to do something now!

In Nigeria, majority of adults see having a will as something for old people anticipating death. Asking a young adult in Nigeria to have a will is asking for trouble. You will get answers like “God forbid bad thing”. Some may also tag you an enemy of progress.

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The truth is, death does not select it’s candidate by their ages, it is no respecter of persons, it puts everyone on one level including children.

It is prudent to have a will so as to cater for future contingency, you wouldn’t want your children to be subjected to abject poverty if anything happens to you.

Let me tell you what a will is, the types and the importance .

A Will is a legal declaration where the maker who is known as the testator names persons who will distribute and manage his estate when he passes.

In Nigeria, wills are provided for under the various Wills law of various states.

These laws provide strict rules which must be followed or the will shall be rendered invalid. I will elucidate on these points one after the other.

For a will to be valid, it must be made by ;

• A person of sound mind. Simply put, a person having appropriate mental capacity. Sound mind is not necessarily linked to mental psychosis but can also mean ability to remember properties he owns, names of his children and other beneficiaries.

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Some diseases such as alzhiemers may prevent a person from remembering immediate family members and friends.

If there is any doubt that the testator was not of sound mind,the will becomes invalid.

• An adult; in Nigeria, the age of adulthood is 18 years, hence, it is only at that age and above that a person can validly are a will. Although, there are some exceptions to this rule,it is still very rare.

Once these requirements are met, the testator can draft his will with his lawyer present.

The testator must clearly identify himself as the maker of the will, and that a will is being made; this is commonly called “publication” of the will, and is typically satisfied by the words “last will and testament” on the face of the document.

The testator should declare that he revokes all previous wills and codicils.

A codicil is a testamentary document used to add or remove items from an already published will. This is necessary when the testator acquires more property that is not subject to the will or when he disposes of property that Is subject of the will.

If this is not done, the state will have to administer the portion of the will that is not provided for under the will or any codicil.

Such a man is said to have died partially intestate. That is, with an incomplete will.

The testator may demonstrate that he has the capacity to dispose of his or her property (“sound mind”), and does so freely and willingly.

The testator must name at least two executors of his will, who will carry out his wishes and share the property amongst the beneficiaries.

The testator must sign and date the will, usually in the presence of at least two disinterested witnesses (persons who are not beneficiaries).

The reason for this is that, beneficiaries can never be witnesses to a will, if it happens, the will is automatically invalid.

However, if the testator intends to make the witnesses beneficiaries in the will, he must give them the gift while he is alive, or remove them as witnesses entirely.

There may be extra witnesses, these are called “supernumerary” witnesses, if there is a question as to an interested-party conflict.

The testator’s signature must be placed at the end of the will. If this is not observed, any text following the signature will be ignored, or the entire will may be invalidated if what comes after the signature is so material that ignoring it would defeat the testator’s intentions.

Types of will

• nuncupative (non-culpatory) – oral or dictated; often limited to sailors or military personnel.

• holographic– written in the hand of the testator; in many jurisdictions, the signature and the material terms of the holographic will must be in the handwriting of the testator.

• self-proved – in solemn form with affidavits of subscribing witnesses to avoid probate.

• mystic – sealed until death

• serviceman’s will – will of person in active-duty military service and usually lacking certain formalities, particularly under English law

• reciprocal/mirror/mutual/husband and wife wills – wills made by two or more parties (typically spouses) that make similar or identical provisions in favor of each other

• unsolemn will – will in which the executor is unnamed

• will in solemn form – signed by testator and witnesses.

A will can be kept in the custody of the lawyer, in the house of the testator, bank vault, or probate registry.

The best option here is the probate registry. It is the safest place for the will and makes it easier to prove.

The probate registry is located in every state high court premises.

To submit a will with the probate registry, the lawyer Cannot submit it on behalf of the testator, the testator must be present at the probate registry while the will is being submitted for safe keeping to ensure that the testator is alive when the will is submitted.

The will is then deposited in the judiciary strong room, of which I do not know where it is.

The testator can then continue his life until the “D” day comes when he answers Odin’s call to dine in the halls of Val Halla.

The family members of the testator may approach the probate registry after 7 days with a death certificate. After which a search will be conducted as to whether there was a will deposited by the testator.

When the will is found, the probate registrar will Contact all the surviving beneficiaries and set a date for the reading of the will.

On that day, the probate registrar will Break the seal of the will in the presence of all members or beneficiaries and read it’s content.

To save your family members from heartache, it is wise to make plans for them in your will, you can also direct that your young children be taken care of by a particular person you trust to care for them.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Read Also: How to Access Bank Account of Deceased Person In Nigeria even if You are the Next of Kin or Not

Do you need a Lawyer to help you prepare your will today? If yes, contact us. Do you have any question regarding this post? If yes, use the comments form below.

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Bar. Princess Ogono

Bar. Princess Ogono is a Legal Practitioner and Content Developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Roberts. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Roberts. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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