Me: “hello hello...hello. Mum are you there?” 
Mum: “ar ar are you dying?” 
“Wait....WHAT??? No...Thank heaven. MUM???” I could still sense my mum’s fear and doubts. She was clearly not convinced. 
Mum: ”why then do you want to write a will? You are attracting a bad omen.” 
This was a telephone conversation i had with my mother 5 years ago. when I was writing my will and needed to let her know about part of its content. Little did i know the emotions this conversation would unveil. 
 
What is a will? Investopedia describes it as “a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children.” 
 
will2 thinkstock
 
Someone once said that “everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.” I can totally relate. I pray every day for long life and health for my family and i, as I wish to see my children marry and hold my grand children in my arms. However, death is a certainty no one can escape from. 
 
As per the definition above, a will sets forth your wishes. Anyone who knows me will ideally say that i have 3 major weaknesses: I am highly opinionated, a perfectionist and i love to control. The will was my way to maintain control beyond my death. 
 
Back then, the office of my company Transolution Services was a desk in a shared office somewhere in Westlands, but i had a vision and i was certain that we would achieve our objectives. Transolution was my Virgin, my Apple, my Safaricom. Although there was no clear indicator that the company would survive to this day, my will indicated the point of entry of my children in the organization upon reaching a certain age, and many other personal information...I have been blessed with a husband who loves his children and would move heaven and earth to take care of them. However, if for any reason he needed help, the will also indicated who my children should be left with. I had a discussion with the guardians to ensure that this is not a surprise to them. Most importantly, this ensured transparency between all parties. Many people contest the will of their deceased because of lack of transparency, which ultimately result in division within a family. 
 
A will is one way of protecting your family should anything happen to you. Although its intention is to avoid family feuds, writing a will is perceived as a problem in Africa. Lets take the role of culture for example, when writing a will. In some cultures, only men are entitled to inheritance while in others, it is the opposite. My husband and i come from different countries. In mine, both men and women are entitled to inheritance while in his, only women are. This is a classic example of how division may occur in a family when a will is not established and left to the court of culture. 
 
Conflicts can also arise because of religion. Islam has a less complicated manner to divide property, than Christianity. According to the Holy Quran and Sunna, the matter of inheritance is taken out of human hand, as God ordained the shares in accordance with the level of responsibility of each family member. and fixed the proportions of the deceased wealth. 
 
For expatriates, understanding the law of the country you reside into and the differences with that of your country of origin is required to ensure your assets are not exposed at the discretion of the state and repossessed. 
 
Once my will was drafted, i sought the advise of a lawyer. However i came to learn later that a lawyer can easily draft it for you, which i believe is ideal, as conflict could arise if it is not properly authored. You will need to have proof of all the properties indicated in the will. So for example the lawyer would want to authenticate your title deed if you have land, check your bank statement because the will, will indicate the balance as at that particular date, know all your assets and all your liabilities, and any other relevant information. The lawyer charges between 10,000 to 100,000kshs and takes about a month to finalize the document. You are free to make any modification in the will after, at an agreeable fee. For those who had previous wills, a revocation clause must be included to revoke them. Once the will is finalized, it must meet legal requirements. It must be signed by the will maker and witnesses who are not entitled to anything in the will. So, have you written your will?