There are many misconceptions when it comes to making a Will, as well as a lot of commonly-asked questions, such as: Is writing a will when I am young important? Do I need a Will? How do you create a Will? How does a Will work?
While many people will know the importance of having a will in place, there are still an alarming number of people in Nigeria and Africa who do not have one in place, either because they see it as something that they will do when they get older, or because they can’t see the importance of writing one or they see it as death sentence.
According to the charity Will Aid, as many as 53% of people across the UK (a developed country like that) do not actually have a will in place, which can cause a number of different problems when they die.
Then, imagine a country like Nigeria where there is high rate of illiteracy and many are leaving informal lifestyle, the may be 90% or more.
In Nigeria, many rich men’s children ends up in court as soon as their father dies. The key reason is, there is no valid will available.
The Importance of writing a will in Nigeria
1. Protecting your own wishes
Should you die without a valid will, you will have died “intestate”. In these cases, your assets are distributed according to the Intestacy Rules, in a set order laid down by law. This order may not reflect your wishes.
The Intestacy Rules will decide where your money goes, which can be upsetting for those left behind, who see assets passed on perhaps to estranged family members and even former spouses who will have a claim if there is no will in place.
For those who have no relatives, it can be an even more worrying situation. In these cases, unless long lost relatives can be located, all assets pass to the government, when it could have been left to charities or very dear friends, if only there had been a will.
2. You can appoint people you trust as your Executors to deal with your estate after you’ve gone.
By appointing Executors you prevent uncertainty and worry among your family after your death as, if you die without a Will, administrators can be appointed on a “first come first serve” basis. You may leave a very valuable estate and it is natural that you would wish your Executors to be individuals that you trust and are capable of dealing with the task in hand.
3. Having a Will gives you peace of mind.
Writing a Will is sometimes considered a morbid exercise as it brings us face to face with our own mortality. It is also a highly unselfish act as it is guaranteed that you will not be around to see the benefits of having made a well-drafted Will! It is for this reason that many people put off making a Will and unfortunately never get round to doing it. However, once your Will is completed you will have the peace of mind that your affairs are in order and your loved ones will be taken care of. This means that you can stop worrying and get on with enjoying your life!
4. Protecting your family
In most cases, people write a will because they want to know that their family will be looked after when they die. However, this can get complicated when no will is actually left behind.
For example, if you have a partner who you are not married to, even if you have been together for many years and were living together, they would have no legal right to your assets if you should die intestate. In many cases, this can leave people with nothing.
Even for those who are married or in civil partnerships, dying without leaving a will may mean that your spouse or civil partner does not inherit the whole of your estate. In these cases, the amount that a spouse will be entitled to will be restricted, and some money can even end up going to people that you feel are underserving, leaving your immediate family with less than they would have felt they were entitled to and less than you would have wanted to leave them.