Most Zambian men and women die without writing wills leaving behind a host of problems for their spouses and offspring.
Very often the fear of writing wills is associated with the fear of death itself with some men believing that a will would hasten their dispatch to the netherworld especially if there is a clear itemization of assets and their distribution to beneficiaries outside the immediate close knit nuclear family.
The reaction of relatives who either shun wills or physically tear them as irrelevant pieces of paper has also discouraged many men from writing their wills in the hope that common sense and good nature will prevail.
But sadly this is not usually the case because competing interests clash resulting in confusion and the weakest actors, usually the children, losing out to relatives and senior members of the extended family to whom the family defers.
Sadly deprivation arising from unfair distribution of assets leaves the immediate family in a serious financial, material and emotional quandary as they try to adjust to the new life-style.
Many administrators who have abused their trust have ended up in prison serving long sentences but sadly there is no law for restitution therefore losses must be borne by the immediate family. This is a very unfortunate situation that requires urgent attention through a mass sensitization to enable parents and individuals with dependants understand the value of putting their wishes and interests and desires on paper.
The Bible clearly states in 1 Corinthians 14 vs 40 that, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” There should be no fear about death because this is an eventuality that befalls all and in times only known by the creator.
There are those who linger and have an opportunity to fashion a will while still lucid and sufficient logical ability to set out their wishes. But more often than not the end comes quickly and suddenly, leaving little or no opportunity to put on paper, the wishes and desires of the victim.
That is why a will, a not very complicated piece of paper, is important to give form and spirit to ones hope, desires and aspirations.
One of the most famous wills this country has witnessed is the one left by third republican president Levy Mwanawasa.
His public preamble dealt with a wide range of issues including the acknowledgement of the prevailing social, political and economic circumstances of the country.
In particular he took the opportunity to say to the living many things that he may not have clearly articulated while he lived such as apologizing for the pain and loss of friendships occasioned by some of the decisions he took.
President Mwanawasa may have had a premonition because of his health and circumstances but as a lawyer he may have simply walked the talk.
Whichever way his last words gave great comfort to the nation and family at large because it gave insight to the man and the times.
It is important that a will in whatever form is drafted to give the loved ones, especially minor children, the guardianship and care which in the absence of a will may be decided by the court without regard to the social and real circumstances of the family.
The notion that wills are meant for the rich must also be dispelled because no matter the status in life, each individual has cares and concerns that must be addressed long after leaving the earth.