In this part of the world where longevity expectations are deeply rooted in cultural norms, discussing “death” is considered a bad omen. One such conversation is about writing a Will.
Contrary to misconceptions, drafting a Will is not a death wish. Rather, it’s a practical acknowledgement of our mortality and adequate preparation for the future. Besides building wealth, protecting our legacy is one of the most significant things we’ll ever do. Without a Will, our loved ones could be at risk of financial uncertainty, emotional turmoil, or long-drawn disputes.
How a lack of preparation almost broke a family
The Adeyemi family learned this the hard way. When Olufemi, the family head, unexpectedly passed away after a brief illness, it threw his wife and three adult children into confusion.
Before his unfortunate death, Olufemi was the true definition of “old Lagos money.” He had properties scattered all over the country, thriving businesses, and several cars in his possession. But because there was no Will in place to indicate how his wealth should be distributed, confusion descended upon the family.
As the Adeyemi family grappled with decisions surrounding their father’s estate, unity was quickly replaced with discord. With no way forward, they sought legal advice by inviting an attorney to intervene.
After careful evaluation of the situation, the attorney explained that the only way out was for the family to come to an agreement. This was done by obtaining a Letter of Administration. And that was how they resolved the issue and restored unity to the family.
Takeaways from the Adeyemi’s Story
There are lessons to unpack from this cautionary tale, so let’s look at three of them.
1. Clarity and Unity: A Will is not just a legal document; it’s a testament to one’s wishes and values. In Olufemi’s case, the absence of a Will created confusion, leading to divisions that threatened to break the familial bond. A well-drafted Will can provide clarity and maintain unity.
2. Future Security: Writing a Will is a means of securing your family’s future. By explicitly outlining how your assets should be distributed, you ensure that your loved ones are taken care of, even in your absence.
3. Conflict Prevention: A Will acts as a safeguard against potential conflicts that may arise during the distribution of assets. Olufemi’s family witnessed firsthand how disputes can tarnish the memory of a loved one and further complicate an already challenging time.
Letter of Administration: Navigating Without a Will
When a person passes away without leaving behind a Will, their estate enters a state of intestacy. In such cases, a Letter of Administration is sought through the legal system. This document authorises an individual to administer the estate and distribute assets by law. While it’s a solution when no Will exists, it can be time-consuming and emotionally taxing and may lead to disagreements among family members.
The Next Steps
The Adeyemi family’s journey underscores the importance of writing a Will. It’s a testament to your legacy, values, and love for your family. As you consider your future and that of your loved ones, craft a Will that accurately reflects your wishes.
Getting professional help for writing a will means your assets can be safely transferred from one generation to the next. If you’re considering planning, Afrinvest Trustees can help get your affairs in order. To get started, please click HERE or contact us at email@example.com.
Remember, without a valid Will in place, your assets and wealth may not end up where you expected them to. A Will is not just a legal requirement; it’s a legacy of care, clarity, and unity for your loved ones.