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Services of Lawyer to a Will Terminates on death of the Testator and not beyond

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The general principle of law is that the death of the principal deprives the agent of anyone for whom he can act. See re Williams Williams v. Ball (1917) 1 Chanec.

If the appointment of Bolaji Carew & Co. was expected to come into effect after the death of the deceased, the consequence was that, the firm of solicitors did not derive any authority from the appointment under the WILL but only after the executors and executrix have in execution of the terms of the will formally appointed the firm as solicitors to the estate.

Until this has been done, BOLAJI CAREW & CO. would have no authority to act as solicitor to the will and estate of the deceased........... where did the solicitors derive their authority from or were they agents of the deceased. When a person dies, neither he nor afortiori, an agent for the deceased can litigate in his stead."

This brings me to the argument of the learned counsel for the respondents that the relationship of the appellant on the will terminated on the death of the testatrix, and that she ceased to be the solicitor to the estate.

Methink that even without the consideration of the authorities cited by learned counsel, commonsense dictates that the services of the appellant terminated on the death of the testatrix, for after her death the estate became that of the beneficiaries and executors to administer and manage.

The duty to administer and manage in the instant case fell on the respondents, and it is very clear, as can be gathered from the depositions reproduced above that the respondents did not extend the duties to the appellant. As a matter of fact they are completely opposed to the appellant stretching her authority to suffocate them, so to speak.

The instructions given in clause (24) of the will and the appointment of the appellant as lawyer for the will and estate is void, as it was to become operational infuturo, when the testatrix would have been dead.

As a lawyer to the will, the appellant completed her instructions when the will had been drafted, sealed, and read over to the executors and beneficiaries.


Per A. M. MUKHTAR, J.S.C in CAREW V. OGUNTOKUN & ORS. (2011) 5 NWLR 376