A Will is a document, in which a person specifies the method to be applied in the management and distribution of his property after his death and a Will serves a variety of purposes.
First of all it enables a person to select their heirs rather than allowing the relatives to choose the heirs, who, although blood relatives, might be people the testator dislikes or with whom he is unacquainted.
A Will identifies the children, spouse and other family members; thereby protecting the deceased family. A Will also helps to avoid conflicts and disappointments after death of a loved one.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a Will is that it helps ensure that children and their surviving parent Will not be kicked off their home and denied ownership of their land when the other parent dies. It also allows a person to decide which individual could best serve as the executor of his assets, distributing the property fairly to the beneficiaries while protecting their interests, rather than allowing other people to appoint a stranger to serve as an administrator.
Requirements of a Will
A valid Will cannot exist unless three essential elements are present. First, there must be a competent testator. Second, the document purporting to be a Will must meet the execution requirements of law, designed to ensure that the document is not a fraud but is the honest expression of the testator’s intention. Third, it must be clear that the testator intended the document to have the legal effect of a Will.
A Will usually must be in writing but can be in any of the three languages used in Rwanda—French, English and Kinyarwanda and inscribed with any material or device on any substance that results in a permanent record. Generally, most Wills are printed on paper to satisfy this requirement.
What happens when there is no Will?
In accordance with Rwanda’s 2003 Constitution, whenever a person (man or woman) dies without a Will, all of his property passes equally to all of his/her children “Children” includes legitimate and natural, sons and daughters, minors and adults.
By writing a Will, you show that you care enough about your spouse and children to make sure they are taken care of if anything should happen.