We must embrace making of Will

Death, a natural phenomenon, is often avoided in conversations, but its inevitability makes planning essential.


As we go about our daily lives, it is easy to put off planning for the future. But the truth is, none of us knows what tomorrow holds. That is why it is imperative to take control of our financial security and well-being now.

The Daily Graphic is sounding the alarm: it is time for everyone to stop procrastinating and start planning. Particularly, contributors to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) should update their records, make a will, secure their retirement plans and consider life insurance.

These are not just prudent financial moves; they are essential steps towards securing one’s future and protecting loved ones. A lecturer at the Ghana Law School, Augustine Obour, at a recent event to celebrate fathers, emphasised the importance of updating SSNIT records, as many contributors fail to do so, resulting in the wrong people receiving their benefits.

 He encouraged contributors to visit the nearest SSNIT office to update their records and ensure their rightful beneficiaries were listed. This simple step can save families unnecessary hardships and litigations in the event of a loved one's passing.

Making a will is equally crucial, as it prevents over 95 per cent of litigations on a deceased person's property. In Ghana, the laws governing inheritance and succession are clear: the Intestate Succession Law (PNDC Law 111) and the Wills Act (Act 774).

However, many Ghanaians still ignore making a will, leading to unnecessary legal battles and emotional distress for their loved ones. It is crucial to understand the importance of making a will and the consequences of not having one.

The Intestate Succession Law (PNDC Law 111) dictates how property is distributed when someone dies without a will. The law favours the spouse and children, but this can lead to conflicts and unfair outcomes, especially in blended families or when there are multiple spouses.

The law also fails to consider individual circumstances, such as specific gifts or charitable donations. On the other hand, the Wills Act (Act 774) provides a clear framework for making a valid will.

A will allows individuals to dictate how their property is distributed, appoint executors and name guardians for minor children. It also enables them to make specific gifts, create trusts and support charitable causes.

Making a will offers numerous benefits. First, it ensures that one’s wishes are respected, and one’s property is distributed according to their intentions. Second, it prevents the uncertainty and conflicts that arise when the Intestate Succession Law applies.

Third, it provides peace of mind, knowing that one’s loved ones are protected and their legacy is secured. Furthermore, a will can also address specific cultural and religious practices such as the distribution of property according to Islamic or customary law. This ensures that individual beliefs and traditions are respected, even after death.

The current trend of inter-ethnic marriages makes it even more pressing to have a will, as the sharing of property without one can lead to conflicts and court cases. A will ensures that the  assets are distributed according to the wishes of the deceased, providing peace and goodwill among family members.

The Daily Graphic stresses that making a will is not only for the wealthy or those with completed houses or dream vehicles. Anyone can make a will at any time, and it can be updated as circumstances change.

We therefore encourage readers to take action, update their SSNIT records, and make a will to ensure their wishes are respected and their loved ones are protected. It is also important to note that planning for retirement is essential. Workers can take advantage of pension plans, such as the Tier 2 and Tier 3 schemes, to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Life insurance is also crucial, providing financial protection for loved ones is also the right thing to do. In addition, it is essential to consider other retirement savings options, such as mutual funds and individual retirement accounts.

These options provide a range of investment opportunities that can help grow one’s retirement savings. Don't wait until it is too late. We must all take control of our financial security and well-being today.  

Remember, "Make hay while the sun shines." Plan for the future now, for tomorrow is uncertain.

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