Mrs Irene Bello, a lawyer, has advised women to confirm they were their husbands’ next of kin (NOK) so as to avoid falling victim of exploitation in the event of death.
Bello gave the advice at an Annual Bible Lecture organised by the Church of Christ (COC) for women at Festac Town, Lagos. The lecture had as its theme: “The Christian Woman in a Contemporary Society.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was aimed at encouraging women to know the position of some of the societal rules and laws that would guide their everyday life.
According to her, a person’s next of kin is that person’s closest living blood relative or relatives.
“Next of kin is not foreign to Christians as it dates back to the Bible in the Old Testament; it is therefore, not a taboo for Christians to choose their next of kin.
“Moses in Bible history, inquired from the Lord who should be the next of kin to inherit the property of a deceased person who died without a male child.
“The Lord’s response to him was that the daughters are the deceased next of kin.
“The Bible, which is the Christians guide, shows that unlike most traditions in the world today, female children can inherit their deceased father’s property.
“So, if next of kin means closest related blood to my skin, who is your next of skin? Your spouse should be next to your skin,’’ Bello said.
The lawyer described as unfortunate the way female children were neglected and not accepted in certain parts of the country.
According to her, women should be recognised and allowed to inherit their father’s property as done in developed countries.
She encouraged Christian women to know that before God, there is neither male nor female, saying everyone was equal.
The lawyer said although the status of next of kin did not imply that they stood to inherit any of their husband’s estate in the event of their death.
She explained that for them to have legal right to their husband’s inheritance, they would have to apply to be appointed as administrators of the estate.
“This involves applying for a grant of letter of administration, once appointed as an administrator, you gain the legal rights to access the deceased person’s bank account and other assets.
“The intestacy rules stipulates who inherits automatically, that is, in absence of a will,” she said.
The legal representative defined will or testament to be a legal document by which an individual known as the testator, declares how he or she would like his or her assets to be distributed when he or she dies, and name one or more persons called executors to manage the estate until the final distribution.
She said apart from deciding who got an individual’s assets, a will could also serve to declare who the person wished to become the guardian for any minor, children or dependents.
Bello, also a member of COC, therefore, advised men to write their wills while alive, adding that doing so did not mean they would die soon.
According to her, writing a will is about ensuring that “your loved ones are adequately protected, knowing that death is unpredictable.”
Besides, she said making a will was one of the critical things that should be done for a loved one.