If statistics that only one percent of literate urban populace in Nigeria write their Will is anything to go by, it then means that majority of families would face serious wrangling in sharing their property. Alternatively, they are going to spend fortunes to secure probate documents to be able to execute property-sharing since it is becoming obvious that majority of the old population will pass on interstate.
This is even worsened, where 90 percent of property owners across the country and in the urban cities are over 60 years, BusinessDay learnt.
This revelation was given by Rotimi Edu, a Lagos lawyer and insurance practitioner, while delivering a lecture on ‘Will and Testament: Tool for Estate Management’ at a public forum.
Edu noted that writing of Will was germane to peaceful transfer of wealth from parents to their children and other beneficiaries, but had been grossly under utilised due to some noxious traditional beliefs that must be discarded.
He lamented that transference of wealth had generally been a problematic issue in the African society, due to the reticence of many towards writing of Will and its administration.
Edu knocked the bottom off the popularly held notion that only the affluent needed to write Will, stressing that anyone above the age of 40 years must accord the posthumous instrument premium attention.
“It is always advisable not to die intestate, given the fact that obtaining a probate document for such individuals are quite cumbersome with its attendant discomforts and delays,” Edu asserted.
In her contribution, the President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, Laide Osijo, enjoined Nigerians to imbibe property perpetration culture in order to reduce friction and misery of their dependants after their exit through death.
A Will is the most practical first step in estate planning; it makes clear how you want your property to be distributed after you die.
Writing a Will can be as simple as typing out how you want your assets to be transferred to loved ones or charitable organisations after your death. If you do not have a Will when you die, your estate will be handled in probate, and your property could be distributed differently than what you would like.
It may help to get legal advice when writing a will, particularly when it comes to understanding all the rules of the estate disposition process in your state. Some states, for instance, have community-property laws that entitle your surviving spouse to keep half of your wealth after you die no matter what percentage you leave for him or her. Fees for the execution of a will vary according to its complexity.
A will must be written in sound judgment and mental capacity to be valid; The document must clearly state that it is your will. An executor of your will, who ensures your estate is distributed according to your wishes, must be named; it is not necessary to notarise or record your will, but these can safeguard against any claims that your will is invalid and to be valid, you must sign a will in the presence of, at least, two witnesses.
By: Modestus Anaesoronye