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What is my wife up to?

With Dayo Benson
My wife works in a hotel, we wedded in December 10, 2011. She hardly wears her wedding ring. She wears it only when I am around. I work in Warri, Delta State while she works in Awka, Anambra State. I visit home at the end of every month. When I confronted her on why she has not been wearing the wedding ring, she said she was not used to it and besides it was not gold.

She celebrated her birthday last Friday (5th May) in a different hotel while I was still in Warri. I received the invitation a day to the celebration via SMS.

When I sought to know why she celebrated her birthday without me, she said I musn’t be there. I want to know if what she did was right.

Anonymous,

Warri.

I quite appreciate how you feel over your wife’s actions of refusing to wear her wedding ring and celebrating her birthday in a hotel without your knowledge. But I must say that these are purely domestic issues which can be sorted out between the two of you. There is no section of matrimonial law that makes it mandatory for either of the spouse to always wear wedding ring. Similarly, the law does not mandate her to invite you to her birthday party celebration.

This is however not an endorsement of what appears to be an unbecoming behaviour of a married woman.

What I actually mean is that this column only addresses legal and not domestic issues. But we appreciate the fact that you are one of the numerous readers of Counsel Corner.

No Will

OVer the years, I have watched members of the same family both immediate and extended fight themselves to standstill over property left behind by their deceased parents or siblings.

I found out that in most of the cases I have seen or heard of, the deceased did not leave any Will behind; and where a Will exists, its authenticity is usually in doubt. What I really want to know is the implications of a person who died without leaving any Will behind.

What really is the position of the law in such a situation? Besides, it is compulsory for people to have a will and how does one really know if a Will is genuine or not?

Joseph

YOu have raised a very important issue and your observations are quite right. Will is very important and it is always advisable for people to write theirs especially as they grow older. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not an indication that whoever writes a Will is about to die.

In the eye of the law, a Will is a testamentary statements of a person which is only effective after the maker’s death. On the death of testator (i.e. maker of the Will), his administrator is called upon to read the Will after some formalities. The Will must be read in the presence of the deceased benefactors. Where a person who has property died without writing a Will, he or she is said to have died intestate.

In such a situation, an application is  written to the probate. An administrator of the Will is then appointed to administer the Will according to intestate law. Without the letter of administration, nothing can be done to the deceased property legally. One of the major reasons why family members fight over Will is when the authenticity of the document is in doubt.

The law requires the testator to have capacity, that is, he or she must be of sound mind at the time the Will is being made. There must also be at least two witnesses who must be present when the Will is signed.

A beneficiary cannot be a witness to the Will. In the case of an illiterate person, the content must be read to him or her and it must be understood by the person. There are other details. It is worthy of note that the content of a Will can be changed from time to time by the testator. It is important to consult a lawyer before a Will is written.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.