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Preparing my Will and Power of Attorny

I recently had a WhatsApp group discussion on death and dying, which reminded me that I am the proud owner of a written Will and Power of Attorney.

Let me talk about the Will first.

I am so excited, at long last, I have been opportune to write a Will. It's not that I'm expecting to die now. But we all know that death is inevitable even though we plan to live.

A Will simply lets you decide what happens to your money, property, and possession after death. Which means it is effective on your death and has no legal authority before that. While a Power of Attorney is effective when you are still alive, and ends when you die.

That said, let the story begin.

Let's go back a few years. As we all know many of our thoughts and actions (good or bad) are often derived from our experiences and knowledge bank on our life journey.  That said, my mother had a Will when she died at 45, in 1995. On reflection, her Will,  was the most useful piece of information and advice my mother could have left behind for my siblings and me. Simply because her Will identified for us (her children) all her assets, home and away. And 28 years down the line, we have managed these assets (not all captured in the Will) as a collective in one way or another.

So as I have evolved (my own family etc),  getting a Will together has always been at the back of my mind. I am glad that I have finally had the opportunity to implement this thought. I remember many years ago I bought a Will over the counter from WH Smith (stationery shop). By the time I read the first paragraph of the English language on the 'off the shelf' Will, I put it down, never to pick it up again.🤣🤣🤣

But the idea of writing a Will remained at the back of my mind. And If you are like me and you are adamant that you don't want the Government, Uncle Charles, and his bride to benefit from your hard work, then a Will is for you. Most especially where children are involved.

If you have a bank account in your name, then you should have a Will.

We've all heard of situations, or at least watched a film where someone died without having a Will, and the complexities that arise thereafter. We will read more of those stories as we witness changes in the Nigerian family structure. The original family structure has changed its form and dynamics. These structures have been broken down and rebuilt based on today's version 2023.  Families are sprawled across the globe now. And many people are learning the hard way, because, dying without a Will, complicates inheritance and impacts birthright as this may not be automatic. Having said this, Wills are not foolproof and can always be contested.

Drafting my Will

Every aspect of my Will writing experience was a surprise to me. Guys, if you don't know, you don't know. To start with, the process was not as complicated as I had thought it would be. The process was pretty straightforward.

  1. We had a consultation with a Will specialist.

  2. The specialist took three days to draft the Will.

  3. We reviewed the Will and signed Will in the presence of our witnesses.

  4. We posted the will back to the Will specialist to check that all signatures were in the right place (to avoid stories that touch).

  5. The Will specialist sends our signed Wills to be stored at the Principle Registry

Secondly, I was really surprised at the cost of writing the Will. The cost was affordable and this reflects in both countries, Nigeria starts from 30K (naira), and UK starts from £150 (with a solicitor).

Thirdly, we had a home service. Which, meant that the Will specialist, came to our home to discuss the 'crux of the matter' in detail with us. It was a 2-hour visit. In addition, I opted to store my Will with the Principle Registry, for a lifetime fee of £26 (one-off payment). This will give easy access to my loved ones when I am no longer available

There are many templates available to support you to write your Will. But what worked for me was having a one-to-one consultation with a Will writing specialist, who came highly recommended.

Power of Attorney

So in addition to writing the Will, I have also decided to put in place a Power of Attorney (PA) to support and help make decisions on my behalf, should I lack the capacity. Life is funny like that. That's why we like the idea of having an insurance to help cushion the blow when life happens.

Again, I would like my loved ones to make the decisions on my behalf, and not the medical team, if anything happens. Preparing a PA is more expensive and the process is slightly different compared to that of a Will. I know it will all be worth the effort.

The choice is yours.

Let me know if you would like the details of the Will specialist I used, (UK and Nigeria)

Learning outcomes

1. Writing a will is not as expensive as I had thought.

2. The process of writing a Will is straightforward.

3. Everyone over the age of 18, who own assets (I.e has a bank account) should have a Will in place.

4. You can amend your Will anytime you want.

5. A Will starts where a Power of attorney ends.

6. Dying without a Will is unpleasant for your loved one you left behind.

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Tochi Balogun
Tochi Balogun

I have been thinking and talking about Will writing for a few years now but still not got found to going it! I should really get to it - thanks for the reminder

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