Sir John Salmond, the acknowledged authority on jurisprudence has in a statement which I consider as locus classicus said that “Inheritance is in some sort a legal and fictitious continuation of the personality of the dead man, for the representation is in some sort identified by the law with him who he represents. The rights which the dead man can no longer own or exercise in propria persona and the obligations which he can no longer in propria persona fulfil, he owns, exercises and fulfils in the person of a living substitute. To this extent, and in this fiction, it may be said that legal personality of a man survives his natural personality, until his obligations being duly performed, and his property duly disposed of, his representation among the living is no longer called for”.

A will is a very important basic document in the whole conspectus of inheritance. The importance of a will is often undermined or ignored by individuals and they therefore shy away from making a will, probably in the belief that things and situations have the inbuilt ability to resolve themselves.


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