A will helps determine the who, what and when of your estate.
1. Exclusion of Rules of Native Law and Custom
A will excludes the rules of inheritance under Native Law and Custom, some of which are capable of promoting injustice and gross deprivation amongst siblings and family members.
2. Exclusion of Statutory Rules of Inheritance
A will enables you show you are in control of your property. It helps you show affection to those you love and reward the loyalty of others who have served you well. On the other hand, it also empowers you to show displeasure to others. Irrespective of what the applicable rules stipulate.
3. Security of Assets in Estate
Executors of a will can act from the date of death of a testator. They can take possession of the estate even before the grant of probate, to prevent waste and dissipation of properties. This is unlike administrators under intestate succession who must await the grant of letters of administration before they can exercise any control over the properties constituting the estate of the deceased.
4. Last Wishes
You can express wishes about your funeral, burial, cremation, etc. However, please note that members of your family and executors most know your wishes for funeral arrangements because by the time your will is read, you are likely to have been buried already.
5. Inner Satisfaction
A properly made will gives an inward joy, peace and fulfilment that you have provided for your family and loved ones.
1.4 WHY THE LETHARGY IN MAKING WILLS?
1. A will is generally regarded as a ‘remembrance of death’. Almost all human beings are squeamish about death. The thought of death appears foreboding. Generally, people get offended if you ask them whether they have a will. The reason is not farfetched. Many people fear death and believe it is a bad omen to draft a will as they are likely to die soon afterwards.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There is absolutely no proof that estate planning (through wills or other methods) could attract death prematurely. On the contrary, drafting a will shows you are organized. It also shows you care enough for your loved ones to provide for them even when you are no longer around. It is a document that shows love, care, thoughtfulness and consideration. Fear not!
2. Yet, wills and estate planning are extremely important for every adult. Wills are emphatically not just for the elderly. Every adult needs to track his assets and plan ahead. The good news is that increasingly, we are overcoming our reluctance to plan for death. More and more individuals (young and old) are now drafting wills as part of estate planning.
3. Unfortunately, most people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. Yet, people at all economic levels benefit from an estate plan. In fact, rancour amongst possible beneficiaries from the absence of wills cuts across all economic and social strata.
What does your TO DO LIST look like? What about your list of resolutions for the year? Many of us have a ‘NEED-TO-DO-EVENTUALLY-BUT-NOT-TODAY list tucked up somewhere in our brain. Eat more fruits and vegetables, paint the house, drink 8 glasses of water daily,jog for 30 minutes a day, etc. But then, we normally hit snooze when the mental reminders go off in our brain. I suggest it is time to get 2 or 3 of these items into the ‘DO SOON’ list. Why don’t you pencil in ‘WRITE A WILL’ at the top of your ‘DO NOW’ list. That may be the smartest decision you will take in a while. The time is ripe to do just that.