A will is a testamentary document voluntarily made and executed according to law by a testator. A will creates different kinds of relationships depending on what the content of the will is. A testator is the maker of the will. Through his will he transfers his property as he deems fit.
THE NATURE OF A WILL
To further understand what a will is, we shall look at some of its features or characteristics.
- AMBULATORY: This simply means that the “will” can only take effect from the date when the testator dies.
- The “will” can’t be operative while the testator is still alive.
- ANIMUS TESTANDI: This is a show of clear intention to make a “will”.
- This means that the testator is doing it voluntarily. Where it is proved that the will was done out of force or inducement, the “will” won’t be valid.
- EXECUTION ACCORDING TO LAW: There is a law governing “wills” in every state. Such laws must be complied with.
- When making a will, the testator must bear in mind that the “will” is governed by two types of laws. They are:
- Lex Domicile (where the testator lives)
- Lex Situs (where the property to be devised is located)
WHO CAN MAKE A WILL?
- Everybody can make a “will” except some class of people.
- INFANTS: Infants can’t make a “will”. They are deemed to still be under their parents. An infant is between the ages of 1 month to 17 years.
- Only Infants that are serving in the army that can make a “will”.
- Mentally Disabled: A mad man cannot make a “will”. Only persons with sound disposing minds can make a “will”.
- Except it can be proved that the will was made during his lucid moments.
- BLIND PERSON: A blind man can make a “will” but the “will” must be read to him and confirmed that he understands the content thereof.
- The “will” must be read to the blind man in the presence of a JURAT.
- DUMB OR DEAF PERSON: These categories of persons cannot make a “will”.
WHAT A TESTATOR SHOULD NOT DO
- He should not be unspecific with the property he is transferring.
- He should not transfer a property that is not his own. You can’t give what you don’t have.
FACTORS THAT VITIATES A WILL
- Unsound Disposing Mind.
- Revocation: This can only be done while this testator is still alive. A “will” can be revoked by:
- A subsequent will.
- Destruction coupled with intention to revoke. Destruction can be done by burning, tearing the will or destroying it by any other means.
NOTE: For the unmarried persons, a “will” made when single stands invalid at the establishment of statutory law marriage or court wedding. Most times, a codicil is used to revive the dead will after the marriage.
IMPORTANCE OF MAKING A WILL
- A “will” excludes the rules of inheritance under native law and custom. In few cases it depends on the Wills Law of the state.
- Through the will, the testator decides who will be his personal representative. This helps to remove the struggle among relatives as to who will be his personal representatives through court cases.
- Where a “will” is made, real estate property is normally guaranteed of continuity through the executors.
- By a will, the bureaucracy of and money spent on obtaining grant for administration of the estate is avoided.
- The testator may by his will appoint a guardian for his children and he could in a similar manner give directions as to the disposal of his remains whereas intestacy cannot enjoy this.
- A “will” creates assurance (to a large extent) as to peace in the family after the death of the testator.
SECURITY OF A WILL
- It is advised that a testator makes five copies of his will. He may secure it in the following places:
- The High Court.
- The Bank.
- The Church or Club or Association.
- The Testator can keep it himself.
- The Testator can deposit one with the solicitor.
- So if you are of age to make a will and you are ready to make one, get all necessary information so that you make a mistake.