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Only one out of 10 Ghanaians has a written will – ILAPI Research

A study by the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI), a research organisation, has revealed that only one out of 10 Ghanaians has a written will.

The quantitative research on accessing funds by next-of-kin, revealed that 85.5 per cent of the 1000 respondents from across the 16 regions of Ghana do not have written wills.

Mr Peter Bismark, the Executive Director of ILAPI, and Mr Stephen Dansu, the Organisation’s Head of Research, revealed this during a high-level policy dialogue on ‘Reducing family poverty via the use of next of kin.’

They indicated that the research, which was carried out between February and July 2023, also found that 38.75 per cent of those who did not have written wills, and said they were yet to acquire any property or asset.

Other reasons given were that they were not ready, they did not believe in writing a will, it was not yet time for them to die, their family knew their property already because they were residing in family property, while others had no reason for no
t having a will.

They said the research also revealed that 80.50 per cent were not informed about their status as next-of-kin, while 63 per cent were not informed by banks about the amount of money the deceased had, and how much they were entitled to.

The ILAPI said the bureaucratic nature of accessing funds as next-of-kin was costly, as respondents revealed that they spent an average of GHS7,550 and as much as GHS15,000 on these processes.

Some of the identified institutions a next-of-kin might deal with in the process included health facilities for the acquisition of a certificate of cause of death, police for the acquisition of a coroner, the Birth and Death Registry for a death certificate, and a death extract.

A burial permit must be acquired from the district assemblies, a probate or letter of administration from the court, as well as documents from financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), among others.

ILAPI recommende
d that there should be frequent public education by stakeholders such as the National Commission for Civic Education, financial institutions, insurance companies and SSNIT, on the processes and procedures involved in accessing an estate.

They also called for the streamlining of administrative processes, to reduce the duration of accessing the funds of the deceased to avoid boredom and abandonment, which usually occurred empirically because of frustration and stress the next-of-kin, beneficiaries, and nominees go through to access these claims.

It urged Ghanaians to inculcate the habit of registering their property and having written wills, to avoid setbacks next-of-kin, beneficiaries, and nominees faced.

Source: Ghana News Agency