Family law

The Myth About Wills In Nigeria

Some Nigerians have grown with a lot of superstitious beliefs that have shaped and affected the way they reason and do things. One of them is on Wills. Some erroneously believe that making a will is preparation for death and it should be avoided till your old age.


Making a Will is not compulsory. It is not a crime or a sin. You will still go to heaven if you die intestate( without making a Will). However, if you love your family and loved ones and you want your property to be properly disposed of after your demise, then you should make a Will.

Trace your mind back to your knowledge of Nollywood. Those things you see they do to widows and children of the deceased are considered true.

Some customs do not favor the wife of a deceased. It was recently in the case of Ukeje v. Ukeje that the court declared that women can inherit property in Igbo land. In Bini native law, the last house where the deceased lived goes to the first son; it is called “Igiogbe” Some native laws and customs have practices that do not favor the wife and children of a deceased man.

This is not about your wife or women generally. This is about the fact that your properties may not be disposed of in a way you will if you were allowed to share your property from the grave.

Some persons have mansions, billions in banks, shares in multinational companies, and even until their death nobody knows about it. This is outright wickedness to your family because Mr. death sometimes does not announce that it is coming.

It should be crystal clear that no law precludes a woman from writing a Will. As long as you have a property( real or personal) you can write a Will.

It is also important to note that the age to write a will in law is 18years. Once you are 18 years you can write a valid Will. So, don’t think that until you are 79, on a sickbed, or about to undergo an operation before you write a Will. As long as you have a property and are of age you can write a Will.

Now, what is a Will?

A Will is a written instrument executed with the formalities required by statute whereby a person makes a disposition of his property(real and personal) to take effect after his death.

Here are things you should note about a Will.

√.A valid Will must be in writing, signed by a testator, or signed in his name by some other person in his presence and in his direction such that it will be apparent that he intended that.

√.A Will is revocable during one’s lifetime. So if you acquire new properties you can alter your Will to reflect that.

√. You can even withdraw a benefactor that you had put as a beneficiary if you don’t want him or her again.

√.You even have the opportunity to appoint your Executors. Executors are people you appoint to carry out the directions and requests in your Will.

One may ask ” What if the Executor(s) dies before the Testator?”

That’s why there is a provision for a Codicil. A codicil is made where a testator wishes to make some change(including all stated above) or alteration in terms of his Will.

So, what’s your fear again?

√ For the safe keeping of your Will, you can deposit one at the High court, bank, and with your Solicitor(Lawyer).

You don’t have to make a public announcement on social media that you have written your Will yunnoMeet a Lawyer to guide, assist, and draft your Will.

You need all the professionalism and meticulousness you can give for your Will.


About Chineye Ekom Idim

Chinenye Ekom Idim(Mrs) is a Legal Practitioner, Self Esteem Coach, and a Children's Teacher She is a conscientious person and a strategist with excellent skills and a keen interest in child psychology, teenagers' development, mental well-being, and Self Esteem. She devotes her time to educating people on their legal rights and helps in giving people's establishment a legal face. She has authored two E-books. "Say No Anyway and Staying Mentally Safe" She currently works at Nsikak Ikpeme & Associates. A law firm located in Calabar, Cross River, Nigeria. She can be reached via or 08145919197