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There is always a misconception when someone is asked to write a will in Nigeria. In reality, the issue of writing a will in Nigeria does not imply that death is on the horizon. It is only natural to organize the affairs of one’s family or loved ones to avoid problems that may arise in the event of death.

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And, even if you don’t realize it, your loved ones are counting on you to make a will. Making a will avoids family conflict, reduces confusion, and ensures that your assets go to the people you want to have them. In a nutshell, a will grants you control over your legacy.

What is a Will?

A will is a testamentary document that expresses a person’s final wishes regarding how his or her property should be distributed after death and who should manage the property until its final distribution. A will directs how a person’s property should be managed, distributed, or disposed of after his or her death.

Why Should You Make a Will?

Death usually comes unexpectedly. It’s heartbreaking to see one’s life’s work wasted by those who don’t deserve it. If succession and inheritance plans are not properly implemented, the legacy left behind may be shattered. As a result, the significance of making a will cannot be overstated. Making a will replaces the rules of intestacy, satisfies the testator’s wishes, protects the children and names wilful guardians for them, and reduces litigation and inheritance taxation.

Who Can Make a Will in Nigeria?

The testator (the person making the will) must meet the following requirements when writing a valid will:

AGE: A will can only be made by an adult. Such an adult must be at least 21 years old under the Wills Act or 18 years old under the Wills Law of Lagos State. Anyone under the age of 18 or 21, depending on the case, cannot make a valid will in Nigeria.

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MENTAL CAPACITY: A person who makes a will must be of sound mind. The testator must be of sound disposing mind when giving instructions and when the will is carried out. There must be no infirmity or lunacy, no matter how minor.

How to Write a Will

1. Determine the type of will you require.

There are several types of wills, but most people only need a simple will, also known as the last will. If you are unsure, you can review the various types of wills and decide which one is best for you. If you have a large number of assets, a business, or a complicated estate. This is something that an estate attorney could assist you with.

2. Determine which assets you want to include in your will.

Make a list of all the items and accounts you own as you write your will. These are your assets, and the next step is to decide who you want to inherit them when you die.

3. Determine who will inherit your assets.

After you’ve compiled a list of all your assets, it’s time to decide who will receive each of them after your death. These people are known as beneficiaries.

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You may simply want to leave everything to your spouse and children if you have a family. However, your beneficiaries could include extended family, friends, and even charities that are important to you.

4. Appoint an executor to your will.

Your will’s executor is the person who will read your will and carry out your final wishes. They will distribute your property to your beneficiaries, pay your debts, and more. Simply include their name in your will to appoint an executor. Because it can be a complicated job with many responsibilities, you should choose someone dependable, organized, and trustworthy.

5. Sign your will in the presence of witnesses to make it legally binding.

This is an important step: once you have completed your will, you must sign it in your handwriting for it to be legally valid. Your executor, guardians, or anyone who inherits something from your will cannot be your witnesses. They could, however, be roommates, neighbors, or other friends.

6. Keep your will in a secure location.

After you and your witnesses have signed your will, keep it in a safe and easily accessible location. This could be in your home’s fireproof safe, a safe deposit box, or at a reputable attorney’s office.

7. Update your will whenever your life circumstances change significantly.

In general, you should update your will every five years or whenever a qualifying life event occurs.

Your will is only useful if your loved ones can find it. Once you’ve stored all of your estate planning documents, inform your will executor and family of their location and how to access them. Making a will is the most effective way to protect your loved ones while also contributing to the people and causes you care about the most.

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This article was first published on 7th July 2022


Grace Christos Is a content creator with a proven track record of success in content marketing, online reputation management, sales strategy, and so much more.

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