Will and Codicil: The Meaning, Importance and Types

Will and Codicil

The Meaning, Importance and Types of Will and Codicil in Nigeria

Will and Codicil.
A will is a testamentary document or instrument voluntarily made and executed according to the law by a testator who has testamentary capacity wherein he disposes of his properties and gives further instruction to be carried out as as deems fit. It contains the intention or the wishes of a person which is carried out after his death.

A will is testamentary as it takes effect after the death of a person and it is ambulatory as it can be altered during the lifetime of the testator.

IMPORTANCE OF MAKING A WILL

The importance of making a Will cannot be overemphasised.

  1. It displaces the rules of customary rules of inheritance.
  2. It displaces the application of the Rules of of statutory devolution.
  3. The testator has the satisfaction that his property will be managed properly.
  4. The testator can benefit those who are jot his family when he make a will and with this, he can gain satisfaction.
  5. The testator can appoint the persons he trusts as testator.
  6. Where the testator has an infant, he can appoint guardians for them.
  7. The power of the executor to manage the estate of the testator arises immediately the testator dies.
  8. Making a Will gives the testator the opportunity of making specific gifts or donations like charity.
  9. The testator can give his final directives. There should be 7 clear days after his death before the directives are carried out. This number of days is dependent on the jurisdiction in question.
  10. It is easier to administer the estates of a deceased person who made a will than when the person didn’t make a will.
  11. It saves time and energy as well as reduces friction among beneficiaries.
  12. Making a Will can guarantee business interest or sustain investment of the testator.

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WHY PEOPLE DON’T LIKE MAKING WILL


Most people don’t make will because they think it can cause chaos among their dependents and they most times don’t believe in the Judicial System. There is also the conflict between culture and the will they make.
Ignorance also plays a part in people not making wills.

WHAT IS A CODICIL?


A Codicil is a miniature or supplemental will attached to a previous valid will. To make a Codicil, there should be an earlier made will. A will cannot be read in full without the Codicil which was made with the will.

EFFECT OF A CODICIL

  • A Codicil revokes a will
  • A Codicil adds or alters a will
  • A Codicil revives a will
  • A Codicil republishes a will

In making a Codicil, the testator must follow all procedures done to a will while drafting the Codicil.

WHAT ARE TERMS TO A WILL/CODICIL CALLED?


A male that makes a Will is called Testator.
A female that makes a Will is called Testarix/Testatrices.
Testator is where a person dies making a Will.
Do note that intestate is when a die without making a Will.
Beneficiary is a person who benefits from the gift given from a Will.
Executors are persons appointed by the testator to manage the property after his death.
Executrix/Executrices are female persons appointed by the testator to manage his property after his death.
Administrators are persons appointed by the court to administer the estate of a person who dies without making a Will. Administrators administer the Intestate estate.

WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF A WILL, WILLS OR CODICIL?

  1. A will must be in writing except privileged and nuncupative will.
  2. A will must be executed in accordance with applicable laws.
  3. A will is testamentary as it takes effect after death of the testator.
  4. A will must be made voluntarily by the testator.
  5. A will is ambulatory as it can be revoked at anytime before the death of a testator.
  6. A will must be made by a person eho has testamentary capacity to make a will.
  7. A will must dispose of a gift for it to be a valid will.
  8. A will should identify the property and name the beneficiaries of the gift in the will.

WHAT ARE TYPES OF WILL?

  1. FORMAL WILL
    This is a type of will that is made under the relevant applicable legislation in the region where the will is made. A formal will is usually written and dully executed by the testator in the presence of atleast 2 witnesses at the same time.
    It must also be attested to by at least 2 witnesses in the presence ofbthe testator. The testator must also have testamentary capacity which includes testamentary age, which varies according to regions.

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  1. NUNCUPATIVE WILL
    This type of will is also called the customary. It is the oral directive by the person in anticipation of death. This type of will must be made in the presence of atleast 2 witnesses. It must be voluntarily made by a person who has testamentary intention and sound mind. The properties and beneficiaries must be specifically named and described so as to be easily ascertained and identifiable.

TYPES OF WILL CONTD

3. MUTUAL OR RECIPROCAL WILL
This is a type of a Will made by two persons like husband and wife. They usually agree that the second to die will dispose the property. They are not revocable except with the agreement of the other party.

3. PRIVILEGED WILL
This type of will is exempted from strict compliance of the law. Also, it is made by certain classes of persons for example, soldiers, mariners and crew members of a commercial airline or ship.
In addition, this kind of will must be in writing, it must be executed by at least one witness who must be a fellow senior military officer. It must be made by a military officer in active service and it must relate to personal property.

4. HOLOGRAPHIC WILL
It is a will made in a statutory form usually handwritten by the testator. It means that it is made by the testator without a witness.

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