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How To Write A Will In Nigeria

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How to Write a Will in Nigeria

Writing a will can seem like a daunting task, but it is an important step in ensuring that your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes after your passing. In Nigeria, there are certain legal requirements and considerations to keep in mind when drafting a will. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about how to write a will in Nigeria.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that outlines how a person's assets and property will be distributed after their death. It is also commonly referred to as a last will and testament. In Nigeria, a will is governed by the Wills Act, which outlines the requirements for a valid will.

Why is it Important to Write a Will?

Writing a will is important for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes. Without a will, your property will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession, which may not reflect your wishes. Additionally, a will can help to minimize disputes and conflicts among family members over the distribution of your property.

Who Can Write a Will in Nigeria?

Anyone who is of sound mind and is at least 18 years old can write a will in Nigeria. It is important to note that a will must be made voluntarily and without coercion or undue influence from others.

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How to Write a Will in Nigeria

  1. Determine your assets: The first step in writing a will is to determine your assets and property. This includes any real estate, investments, bank accounts, personal property, and other assets that you own.

  2. Choose your beneficiaries: Next, you will need to choose who will inherit your assets after your passing. This may include family members, friends, or charitable organizations.

  3. Choose your executor: An executor is the person responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. This person should be someone you trust and who is capable of carrying out the duties of an executor.

  4. Consult a lawyer: While it is not required to consult a lawyer when drafting a will in Nigeria, it is highly recommended. A lawyer can help ensure that your will meets all legal requirements and can help to minimize the risk of disputes among family members.

  5. Draft your will: Once you have determined your assets, beneficiaries, and executor, it is time to draft your will. Your will should include your name, address, and other identifying information. It should also clearly outline how your assets will be distributed and who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.

  6. Sign and witness your will: In Nigeria, a will must be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the will in each other's presence.

Legal Requirements for a Valid Will in Nigeria

In order for a will to be considered valid in Nigeria, it must meet the following legal requirements:

  • The testator (the person writing the will) must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old.
  • The will must be made voluntarily and without coercion.
  • The will must be in writing.
  • The will must be signed by the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses.
  • The witnesses must also sign the will in each other's presence.
  • The will must also be dated.
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Updating Your Will

It is important to update your will regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. You should consider updating your will if you experience any major life changes, such as getting married, having children, or acquiring new assets.

Conclusion

Writing a will may seem overwhelming, but it is an important step in ensuring that your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes. By following the legal requirements outlined in the Wills Act, you can create a valid and legally binding will in Nigeria.

FAQs

  1. Do I need a lawyer to write a will in Nigeria?
    While it is not required to consult a lawyer when drafting a will in Nigeria, it is highly recommended. A lawyer can help ensure that your will meets all legal requirements and can help to minimize the risk of disputes among family members.

  2. Can I make changes to my will after it is signed?
    Yes, you can make changes to your will after it is signed. However, any changes must be made in compliance with the legal requirements for a valid will in Nigeria.

  3. What happens if I die without a will in Nigeria?
    If you die without a will in Nigeria, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. This may not reflect your wishes and can lead to disputes among family members.

  4. Can I leave my assets to a non-family member in my will?
    Yes, you can leave your assets to anyone you choose in your will, including non-family members.

  5. How often should I update my will?
    You should consider updating your will regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. You should update your will if you experience any major life changes, such as getting married, having children, or acquiring new assets.

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