Transference of wealth has generally been a problematic issue in the African society due to reticence of many towards writing of Will and its administration.
To come down home, Nigerians are scared of writing Will because the general believe is that when a person writes a Will, he or she is about to die. Also, will writing in the country has been grossly underutilized due to some obnoxious traditional and religious beliefs that must be discarded.
Another popularly held notion is that only the affluent need to write Will. Despite these skewed positions, it is expedient that anyone above the age of 40 years must accord the posthumous instrument premium attention.
However, experience has shown that beneficiaries of deceased contributors in the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, have had to go through rigorous processes to lay claim to the retirement savings or pension benefits of the relatives who picked them as their next-of-kin.
Instances abound where beneficiaries of some bereaved contributors who have had to make claims for their entitlements have been frustrated by the cumbersome process of getting Letter of Administration. Some got frustrated to the point of abandoning their entitlements with the Pension Fund Administrators.
Most times, the frustration emanates from the delay in getting Letter of Administration from the Courts, which can last for months and even years. And if a beneficiary is financially handicapped to pursue the processes to a logical conclusion, all efforts will end up being wasted. The matter is made worse when 10 per cent of the entitlements must first be collected by the lawyer that will file for the letter of administration.
Consequently, a lot of beneficiaries have had to live in penury when they have wealth locked up somewhere.
GETTING A LETTER OF ADMINISTRATION
To get a Letter of Administration from any High Court in the country, a beneficiary will proceed to the court with the death certificate of the deceased. Next, a form for Letter of Administration will be given to the beneficiary to be filled. The beneficiary is then required to place an advertorial in any national newspaper to declare that the deceased is actually dead.
An interval of 21 working days will be observed to wait if anybody will come forward to counter the advertorial. If nobody comes forward to counter the advertorial, the beneficiary will then proceed to the court with the newspaper bearing the advertorial. Then, the beneficiary will be required to pay the lawyer an amount equal to 10 per cent of the total contribution in the RSA, which is the standard charge for getting a Letter of Administration in any High Court in Nigeria.
After all these processes, the beneficiary will now wait until the court issues him the Letter of Administration. However, investigations revealed that due to the extended family culture in Nigeria, two or more Letters of Administration may spring up from one family which could halt or delay payment of benefits to next-of-kins.
WHY YOU MUST WRITE A WILL TODAY
Due to the prolonged delay in getting a Letter of Administration and the unnecessary inconveniences which it can cause beneficiaries of the CPS, contributors should prepare a Will to forestall such occurrences.
It is worthy of note that writing of Will is germane to peaceful transfer of wealth from parents to wards or children and other beneficiaries.
It is advisable not to die intestate, given the fact that obtaining a probate document for such individuals are quite cumbersome with its attendant discomforts and delays. Accordingly, Nigerians should imbibe property perpetration culture in order to reduce friction and misery of their dependents after their exit.