My uncle who lived in New York City passed due to complications from the Coronavirus. Before any form of burial, his brothers, who are my mum’s siblings, called on Facetime to discuss how to share the properties he has in Nigeria. Mind you, his wife and children live in Nigeria and through all the discussion, my mum kept asking them why his wife wasn’t invited to the discussion and they continually hushed her.
My mum is helpless and I can’t help but wonder what will become of his family. My mum is aware that he didn’t leave a will.
The entire incident has made my mum start considering how to convince my dad to write a will.
Seeing as my dad doesn’t believe in writing wills while one is still hale and hearty, can you please suggest logical ways to bring this topic up to him as well as the benefits?
Doris Ebube from PH
Thank you for reaching out to me. I do hope you are well and keeping safe during this pandemic. First and foremost, kindly accept my condolence on the passing of your uncle.
Your late uncle’s brothers’ moves regarding the distribution of his assets without involving his wife is not an unusual occurrence in this part of the world. Often times, the wife and children of a deceased person have to contend with the extended family in respect of assets left behind by their benefactor. Such occurrences can, however, be mitigated against through the use of effective and efficient estate planning tools in distributing one’s assets.
In my view, the situation with your late uncle’s estate provides a good conversation starter with your father regarding the planning of his estate. As the will remains the most commonly used estate planning tool, its merits can be highlighted to your father putting your late uncle’s situation into context. For instance, you can tell your father that a will is a legally recognised document that captures one’s wishes regarding the distribution of one’s assets.
Other advantages that could be highlighted to your father include the fact that his will could serve as an inventory of his assets at the time of writing. That it would reduce the likelihood for the family to engage in disputes or conflicts in distributing his assets after his demise and also that it would give him peace of mind knowing that his dependents will be taken care of when he has passed.
Discussions on mortality and life after may not be easy but I believe that your dad would have a different stance on the subject of drafting his will if the matter is presented as advised.
I wish you and your family the very best.