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02.09.2005 Crime & Punishment

Will endorsed by beneficiary is void - Lawyer


Gomoa Eshiem, Sept 2, GNA - A will endorsed by a beneficiary renders it void and invalid, Mr Alexander Graham, a Co-ordinator of Legal Outreach Programmes (LOPs), a non-governmental organisation, which educates the public on legal matters, has stated.

Addressing a forum at Gomoa Eshiem in the Central Region, he said that property acquired in partnership with a spouse could not be willed to any other person except the wife or husband and her children. Similarly, a head of family could not will any family property to his wife or children excerpt his or her self-acquired property. The forum was organised in partnership with the Gomoa District Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). Mr Graham, who is a Lawyer, explained that any family property including land and buildings in the possession of a family member should be reverted to the family after the death of the member. The lawyer stated that the new marriage ordinance recognised marriages contracted through customary rites and said wives through this system were entitled to have shares in the man's property after his death. A wedded wife had no right to deny any other woman her husband married through customary rites a share in the man's property should he die interstate.

Mr Graham stated that a child below the age of 12 years could not be charged for any offence.

Such a child should be referred to the Department of Social Welfare, which could commit him or her to a Borstal Home for guidance. He said that the law permitted civilians to arrest criminals but they should hand over such offenders to the Police immediately. Mr I K Sam, District Director of the NCCE, urged Ghanaians to seek knowledge since ignorance of the law was no excuse. Nana Kwa Donkoh III, Chief of Gomoa Eshiem, commended LOPs and NCCE for organising the forum and said the lessons learnt would have cost them millions of cedis if they had consulted a lawyer. The Chief appealed logistics for the organisation to extend the programme to many communities.