Mr and Mrs. Buntu got married in 2003 and they had four children aged between 9 to 15 years. At the time they met, they each did not have anything but through their hard work and support, they were able to acquire lots of properties including numerous plots of land, a family house, rental apartments, businesses in town , a fleet of cars to mention but a few. Some of these properties were in both their names while others were in only Mr. Buntu’s name. Whenever Mr. Buntu was told to write a will, he laughed it off saying he is not about to die, sometimes he would say he doesn’t want to remind death to come for him. Sometimes he would say that wills are for “Bazungu”, not Africans. He constantly bragged of how he has worked hard enough and has built an empire that would sustain his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Little did he know that death comes like a thief in the night and the property he has worked hard for would vanish in thin air without his children enjoying it.
As fate would have it Mr. Buntu died in a fatal accident in January this year, no one had seen this coming. At his burial, his relatives who were nowhere at the time he was amassing his wealth, stormed his home and collected everything that their hand could get hold of. They did not stop there, they took over all the buildings, businesses, cars and any property that was in Mr. Buntu’s name. Mrs. Buntu was left with nothing, she is now stranded with her children and has no property left for her young family.
This would not have been the case had Mr. Buntu made a will. A will in simple terms is document which shows how a person wishes his or her property to be dealt with or distributed upon his or her death. A person who makes a will is known as a testator (male) or a testatrix (female). When you die after making a valid, in law, you are said to have died testate.
Here are a few things you need to know about wills.
- Everyone above the age of eighteen years is free to make a will.
- A will must be in writing, mere telling someone verbally your wishes upon death does not amount into making a will.
- A person making a will should be of sound mind or in a good mental state and should be able to understand what he or she is doing.
- A valid will should be signed by the person making it (to be on a safe side, sign each page so that no one can insert pages into your will). Where a person cannot write or sign, a mark made on the will by such a person is sufficient.
- A person making a will should do so freely without being forced to make one.
- For a will to be valid, it should be witnessed by at least two competent witnesses who should sign it.
- A will essentially takes effect upon the death of the person who made it.
- A person making a will should appoint an executor (Male) or an executrix (female). An executor is a person appointed in a will to manage and distribute the property of a deceased person.
- After making a will, keep it with someone you trust, this can be a lawyer, a church leader, the bank or a trusted friend.
- A person is free to make as many wills as he wishes but the last one made just before his or her death is the final will.
When a person who has made a valid will dies, the will is read depending on what is in the will. Some people may wish that the will be read at the time of their burial, others after month others after a week, well the choice is yours since wills are made out of free will. The executor or executrix shall then apply to court for a grant of probate. Probate simply means the authority from court allowing an executor or executrix to deal with the property of a deceased person.
Do not be like Mr. Buntu, Make a valid will today.