The idea or thought of making a will to an average Nigerian is often interpreted as superstitious beliefs of wishing death on the individual, it is one largely frowned upon and not embraced by many, but in reality a WILL is as important as acquiring assets especially when one has a large family that may not easily agree on sharing after one’s demise. A will is likened to an insurance policy where you can ensure that the interest of your loved ones and life’s worth are protected, even after demise.
This aim of this write-up is to expose the reader to the importance of a will and the ingredients that must be present before a valid will can be birthed.
WHAT IS A WILL?
A will is a legal document written by a person (testator) that contains instructions of his or her wishes to be carried out after his/her death. This is an ordinary and simplified definition of a WILL. But a statutory definition of a will according to the Wills Act 1837 states that:
A will is a testamentary document voluntarily made and executed according to law by a testator of sound mind, where he disposes his properties (real or personal) to beneficiaries to take effect after his death.
BENEFITS OF WRITING A WILL
There are a plethora of reasons and benefits of writing a will. The first major benefit is that one can be assured while still alive that upon demise, the loved ones will be catered for as if one is still alive to provide for them. Second, writing a will allows someone to express his or her feelings and opinions with the will and thereby reduces friction among beneficiaries.
IMPORTANT TERMS IN WILL
Bearing in mind the aforesaid, we will briefly explain some important terms related to a will as follows:
Furthermore, not every individual can make a valid will; a minor and a person of unsound mind cannot write a will. The legal age of a person to write a will is 18years of age and above. Under the Wills Act, the legal age for making a will is 21 years.
HOW TO MAKE A VALID WILL
There are certain conditions that must be met in writing a valid will, these conditions are very important as a badly executed will is as good as a worthless piece of paper. A valid will has a binding force in law. Important factors must always be considered while writing a will:
CONTENTS OF A VALID WILL
Another likely question to arise is that after making a will can it be changed? Yes, one can change his or her will by making a new one or using a CODICIL. A codicil is used to amend, change, rewrite or remove any information from a will.
It is imperative to say that making a will is very important and should be embraced by all, to protect the interest of loved ones and ensure one’s assets are properly managed. It is neither a curse nor a superstitious belief, as many believe but a means of protection and organisation. One can write his/her will himself or herself but it is advisable to employ the service of a lawyer for a proper guidance.
Written by Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria