Speaking on JoyNews’ The Law, Sunday, with Samson Lardy Anyenini, the head of Paintsil, Paintsil & Co., stated that an individual who keeps a will of a deceased testator in his or her possession for over two weeks, i.e. 14 days, after receiving information about the death of the testator, is liable to a maximum of 10 years imprisonment or a fine.
According to him, what is required of such individuals is for them to deposit the copy of the will in their possession at the High Court’s Registry.
“When you make a will, all that the law requires is that a copy must be left at the High Court’s Registry. The law also makes it incumbent that anybody who has gotten a copy of that will, upon hearing of the testator’s death, is incumbent within two weeks for you to lodge a copy of the will or the document that is in your hands, at the Registry of the High Court.
“But if you fail that, there are criminal sanctions. You can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years and GH10, 000 which essentially, is a very strict liability law.
“In other words, the burden will be on you to demonstrate why you haven’t sent the document and it also gives you an idea of how the lawmaker considers the conduct of keeping somebody’s will with you without sending it to court,” he said.
He noted that the copy of the will could be deposited at District or a Circuit Court Registry, which will subsequently, be transferred to the High Court.
Mr Paintsil said the reason for such stringent measure is to deter individuals from deliberately keeping the legal declaration of the deceased’s wishes regarding the disposal of the properties.
He said, “some people discover wills and they deliberately keep it away with the intent that in the absence of the will, they will benefit from the estate. People steal wills,” he added.