After a very engaging and insightful debate with a friend of mine, I decided to write this piece about Wills and testaments!
We live in an interesting part of the world where any talk about drafting a Will engenders fear and panic. You hear exclamations of surprise and discomfort. But this, as uncomfortable as it may be for some, is a reality we must all deal with.
It concerns the reality of what happens to our property, our estate, our children, our family and who benefits and gets what upon our eventual demise. Leaving behind a Will, like my late father did, ensures that there is peace between your children, your extended family and every other beneficiary of yours.
Some leave behind instructions for their funeral, including determining their final resting place and final wishes. Irrespective of your age, you can and should draw up a Will and decide how your estate, as in property and possessions lawfully acquired, are dealt with.
An individual’s benefits such as emoluments, social security contributions, landed and immovable properties amongst other things are all assets that you can have bequeathed to the right people, but only when you are alive and actually take that step of leaving behind a Will.
Because we do not have the luxury of time or the benefit of knowing when we will depart from our loved ones, we must all do well by our dependents by putting our affairs in order, because no one knows ‘the appointed time’.
Having a Will drafted for you is not an invitation to death, as some fear. The Law has not made it a prerequisite to the validity of a Will that it should assume any particular form.
All you have to do is to put down your intention, have a will in writing, signed, and attested to by at least two witnesses in whose presence the Testator’s signature must be acknowledged.
Remember, you can always review your Will and Testament to reflect changing times and circumstances, so you avoid regrets and sometimes protracted legal tussles or conflicts.
Joyce Bawa Mogtari