Litigation, Insights

The Provision for Family and Dependants in a Will: Can a ‘Side Chick’ of a Testator Contest the Validity of His Will, Where No Reasonable Financial Provision is Made for Her in the Will?

INTRODUCTION
The dependents of a deceased person (testator) can contest his Will, where they believe that reasonable financial provision(s) has not been made for them in the Will. This issue has been provided for, under the extant laws regulating the disposition of a person’s properties. Thus, the law allows certain categories of individuals to challenge a Will, where they have not been adequately provided for under the Will.

On 29th February 2024, an uproar ensued across multiple media outlets following a post by a social media influencer (Morris_Monye) on his X handle (formerly Twitter). According to the post, a man’s ‘side-chick’ who had been receiving monthly allowance from the man before his death could contest his Will in court if no financial provisions were made for her, provided she could present the relevant bank statement as evidence. This article seeks to examine the propriety or otherwise of the above opinion in law using the Wills Law of Lagos State as a case study.

THE PROVISION FOR FAMILY AND DEPENDANTS
A Will is simply defined as a testamentary document or instrument voluntarily made and executed by a testator with testamentary capacity in accordance with the law wherein he disposes of his properties. In Odunewu v. Agoro, the Supreme Court held that “A “Will” is the legal expression of an individual’s wishes about the disposition of his or her property after death; especially, a document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death. It is the declaration in a prescribed manner of the intention of the person making it with regard to matters which he wishes to take effect upon or after his death…”

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