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Why do you need to get a will

One thing every Nigerian should stop doing is relating writing a will to sudden death. A lady was once asked to write ...

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Why do you need to get a will

One thing every Nigerian should stop doing is relating writing a will to sudden death. A lady was once asked to write a will and she screamed “Tufiakwa! It is you that will die”. Where's the correlation? How does writing a will mean you will die today? A will isn’t a death sentence, it is simply a legal document that states your wishes on how you want your estate (properties) distributed among your family and loved ones when you die. 

Talking about death, we will all die one day. No one has the elixir to eternal life, which means that no matter how old you get, death is inevitable. It can happen today for some and happen in the next 50 years for others. Now that we have that cleared, here’s an instance of a man who did not see death coming but died in a gruesome accident, leaving behind his wife and 2 daughters; Mr. Donatus is an extremely wealthy Igbo, businessman. Just like a majority of people in Nigeria, he didn’t even think about writing a will. All he was concerned about was making money and getting his wife to give birth to a son who would inherit all his properties. Unfortunately, death took him, with no son, and leaving his wife behind to his greedy family.

Because Mr. Donatus died intestate (without a will), his family took advantage of the grieving wife and imposed the Igbo customary laws on her, taking all the properties Mr. Donatus had without consideration for her or his daughters. Their excuse was, “Mr. Donatus died with no son, it will be a taboo to give his properties to a wife who might one day get married to someone else and transfer Mr. Donatus properties to a man who is not family” and that was how Mr. Donatus died with no provision for his wife or his children despite all the money he had.

A will shouldn’t only be written by someone who has a large estate, a wife, or kids. In writing a will, the testator (the person writing the will) has;

  • To be of age - You must have attained the age of 21 years under the act of the will or 18 years under the wills law of Lagos state.
  • To have a sound mind - A person writing a will has to have the right mental capacity to do so.

Benefits of having a will

  • Having a will helps to remove every customary law or family rule from taking precedence
  • It helps to eliminate rancour among family members. With a will in place, no family member feels entitled to any property left behind and simply respects your wishes as written in the will
  • A will can contain how a testator wishes to be buried.
  • A will is very important for how it automatically protects children and loved ones that were left behind
  • A will guarantees the continuity of a testator’s estate with clear directives on how that testator wants his/her estate managed.

You can write a will today and as you continue to grow and expand your estate over the years, your will can be edited to accommodate all that you have.

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