By Amaka Ezeno, MCLArb,

There are many family tussles over property sharing. In some families, it has led to eternal strife. Yet, the counsel to make a will is, sometimes, received with fear and distaste. Some people have the notion that making a will is an implied longing for death. For others, it appears to be a taboo to ‘share’ their property while alive.

Unfortunately, anyone who dies without a will may have created problems for his offspring, as regards who should have what. In fact, failure to make a will typically leaves your estate/assets in the hands of judges or state officials. Another common but amusing idea is that only the wealthy should have a will. This is wrong. A will helps you to be clear about who gets what.

A will is a legal document by which a person, called the testator, expresses his or her wishes as to how his or her property is to be distributed at death, and names one or more persons called the executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution.

You can write your will by yourself for free, but there is a risk of making a mistake that could cost your descendants later in life. Thus, it is best you get an attorney whose profession, the making of a will, is part of.


  1. The full name, including former name and alias, of the testator.
  2. The address of the testator.
  3. The testator’s occupation.
  4. The names and addresses of the of the executors.
  5. The full names and addresses of the beneficiaries in the will, and where the beneficiaries are minors, the particulars of the guardian appointed for them.
  6. A full list and particulars of the testator’s assets, including debts.
  7. The names and addresses of the witnesses (2) to the will.


  1. The Will has to be in writing.
  2. The maker must have attained the age of 18.
  3. He must be of sound mind at the time of making the Will and understands the action he is taking. This is in accordance with Section 7 of the Wills Act 1837. To this end, it is advised that a witness who is a medical doctor is recommended as this would raise a presumption that the testator was of sane mind at the time of making the will.
  4. The Will must be made voluntarily, without any expression of duress, undue influence and/or fraud.
  5. The testator must acknowledge his signature in the presence of two witnesses.
  6. The witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator.
  7. The will must properly identify the beneficiaries and the properties bequeathed.

None of the witnesses should be a beneficiary in the will. In fact, Section 15 of the Wills Act. provides that any gift given to a witness who is a beneficiary in the will is nullity.

Dieing without a will brings about intestate administration which can get complicated. The court would have to name an administrator to administer your estate, and this can be time-consuming, expensive, and contentious for your loved ones.

With a will, you can choose who you want to handle your estate, nominate a guardian for your minor children, and leave instruction for your digital assets such as social media accounts and how they should be used or managed in your absence. You can also use your will to provide funeral instructions- how one should be paid his or her last respect. Make a will today.