WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE WRITING A WILL

A will can be likened to an insurance where you can ensure that the interest of your loved ones and life’s worth are protected, even after death.

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

5/23/2022 2 min read

WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE WRITING A WILL

To every average Nigerian, the idea of advising them to write a will is like you are wishing them untimely death. Most of the times they likely get angry and accuse you of having negative thoughts toward them.

However, this should not be the case. A will can be likened to an insurance where you can ensure that the interest of your loved ones and life’s worth are protected, even after death.

Going by the Statute, a will according to the Wills Act 1837 is defined thus:

"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".

The most requisite things to provide for when writing a will are who will be your executors, who will be the beneficiaries of your assets, and in cases where there are minors, who the guardian(s) of the minor will be. The role of a guardian requires great responsibility, and involves taking on significant duty of care for the minor. This can also involve considerable expense on the behalf of the guardian, and so is something that should be considered when you are writing your will.

IMPORTANT TERMS RELATED TO WILL

Important terms related to a will are explained as follows:

TESTATOR: A testator is a man or in the case of a woman (testatrix) who wishes to dispose his/her assets to specific beneficiaries upon death, he/she must be with a sound mind.

TESTATE: A situation where one dies leaving a valid will.

INTERSTATE: A situation where one dies without leaving a will, in this case what tends to happen is that the estate of the deceased will be settled by the administration of estate law of his/her domicile before death.

BENEFICIARY: A person who benefits from the asset or estate of a testator or is listed in the will of a testator. EXECUTORS— these are trusted individuals appointed by the testator to manage his assets and carry out his wishes after death.

REQUIREMENTS OF A VALID WILL

1. The will must be in writing: Handwritten or typed or printed.

2. The individual must be of legal age. He/she must be at least 18 years of age under the Wills Law of Lagos State and age 21 under the Wills Law. He must be of a sound mind, and the will must not be made under duress or coercion. He must understand the nature and the extent of the estate.

3. The will must be signed by the testator and must be attested (witnessed) and signed by the witnesses under his direction.

It should be noted that a witness cannot be a beneficiary to a will, and any gift given to a witness will be null and void and of no effect what so ever. Therefore, the testator’s spouse and children cannot attest to a will, since they are definitely going to be beneficiaries in it. Choosing people who are not beneficiary to the will as witnesses will ensure confidentiality and prevent conflict of interest.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY: CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

E-MAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

Tel: 08065553671, 08024230080