The IBTC Trustees has raised serious concern over lingering litigations among families concerning the administration of and ownership of property in the absence of a Will by the deceased.
The firm at a roundtable in Lagos where it assembled experts, diligently drew the attention of the public on the dire consequences of not writing a Will.
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, the forum observed, adding that Nigerians are scared of writing Will because the general belief is that when a person writes a Will, he or she is about to die, and that Will writing in the country has been grossly underutilised due to some obnoxious traditional and religious beliefs that must be discarded.
Mrs. Binta Max-Gbinije chief executive officer of Stanbic IBTC Trustees said the firm is committed to helping Nigerians imbibe the culture of writing their Will to avert conflicts that arise from lack or improper wealth transfer to preferred beneficiaries.
Max-Gbinije stressed the need for the public to realize the importance and benefits of writing Will, adding that those who write Will tend to live longer. “She said communications is one of the challenges and benefits of it is also important so it is important to organize things to avoid problems when you are gone” she advised.
Other speakers at the event spoke, in the same way, noting that despite these skewed positions and perceptions among Nigerians it is expedient that anyone above the age of 40 years must accord the posthumous instrument premium attention.
They said 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, which the CEO said the firm is battling to help people resolve through engagement like such Forum.
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, while some got frustrated to the point of abandoning their entitlements with the Pension Fund Administrators.
Other speakers including Adesuwa Onyenekwe, Shaidu Audu, Nkiru Olumide Ojo and Dr. Ned’s Denoye all expressed concern over cases of rightful beneficiaries losing their entitlement in the face of lack of Will resulting in unending court cases and other associated crises often ending in violence.
Experts say often times, the frustration emanates from the delay in getting Letter of Administration from the Courts, 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 and the matter is made worse when 10 percent 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.
The forum advised that 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 and that it is worthy of note that writing of Will is germane to peaceful transfer of wealth from parents towards 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 delay and Nigerians should imbibe property perpetration culture in order to reduce friction and misery of their dependents after their exit, the forum said.