Telling Nigerians to write their wills to many is being interpreted as an invitation to sudden death. Taking a plebiscite on this important but neglected issue will further reveal attitudes of many Nigerians towards writing their wills. Not even the educated ones who should know better make a difference in this regard.
It becomes worrisome that the issue of will writing, many see as unimportant but rear its ugly head after the demise of the testator/testatory, causing quarrels among the family members on who gets what, majority of which leads to deaths thus denying the property owner to rest in peace as we often pray.
The expert spoke with some people to find out if they have written their wills and many of them said no because they are not ready to die now while few reluctantly answered yes.
To a businessman, Mr Raji Kukoyi when asked if he has written his will explained that he had never thought of it since he was not prepared to die. “Though, I knew so much about will but it has never crossed my mind because I am still young and not prepared to die now. Do you think that, is easy for someone to wake up one day and put pen on paper on how his/her property should be shared?
“We should be realistic, it is not easy to do that unless we want to deceive ourselves. Doing that reminds one of death and of the fact that all that one labours for will one day be taken over by someone else while I will be in the grave. So, I hate the thought of it.”
When told that making one’s will is advisable to prevent misunderstanding among the family members since death has no respecter of age or person cut in “I said that I (mentioned his name) am not ready to die now so, forget that issue of making a will. “
Sharing similar sentiment, a contractor, Mr Folayemi Olayinka supported the idea of writing one’s will but revealed that he has not written his. When asked why said, “Thinking of writing my will gives me emotional feelings of unavoidable death and this affects me psychologically due to this, I do not have courage to take the step. There was a time I discussed this with my wife and she warned me against allowing evil ministrations that it was too early to think of writing my will at 52 years.”
When reminded that death could come at any time became furious and asked, :Are you wishing me dead? No, it is just that it is very important to write one’s will said the reporter.
On the contrary, a 70-year old, retired civil servant, Mr Jide Oluranti revealed that he had written his will 20 years ago and he is still waxing stronger as he called on Nigerians to take the issue of will writing seriously because doing so according to him will help to address controversies that might surround the sharing formular when the person is no more.
“The issue of writing one’s will, we should not shy away from it, giving different crises that often arise from these. A woman with three young boys was sent out from the husband’s house by the husband’s family immediately the husband died in a motor accident. They also collected the husband’s car from her. All efforts to make peace proved abortive as the woman later resulted into selling vegetables. This would not have happened if the deceased had written his will. “
On if writing one’s will is an indication for sudden death said, “That is a superstitious belief on the part of some people because either or not you write your will, death will come when it is time. I wrote my will when I was 50 years, thank God, I am 70 years now and still very strong.”
When asked one Mr Ayodeji, a trader if he has written his will reacted, in a rather funny way “I am living in a rented room and parlour with my family and we have a television and three plastic chairs, is that what I should write as will? Let anyone who wants to fight over a television and plastic chairs fight, it is left for them. “
The expert advised that anyone above 18 years could write a will even as he debunked the belief that making a will is an indication of untimely death.”There are some who have made their wills at 40 years and they are above 80years now.”
On the importance of writing one’s will said that writing of will gives the testator/testaries the opportunity to express his/her wishes and desires on how his /her property should be shared to guide against problem among the family. “It also helps to save cost because if someone dies without making a will (intestate), the family must obtain letter of administration before administering the person’s property which is very expensive to get. But there will be no need for the administration letter if there is a will. Writing of will also gives advantage to the testator to choose the executors who will administer the person’s property after his demise among others.”
Barr Omoyajowo said that aside lack of education, other factors that discourage people from writing their will are custom, traditions and polygamous practice as he maintained that none of these factors could solve the problem of not writing a will if it arises and advised everyone above 18 years to seek useful legal advice on how to write their will.