Legal implication of the use of extrinsic evidence in construing the contents of a will in Nigeria

Disckson B. Bekederemo, Esq, LLB (Hons.) BL, LLM-UNIBEN
Keywords: Legal, extrinsic evidence, Nigeria
Journal of Management and Social Science Research 2021 2(1/2), 24-34. Published: January 4, 2023


The right to acquire property whether real or personal is incidental to the right to dispose of the property by a testator to persons of his choice. The right to freely dispose property is, however, limited by status enacted by various jurisdictions. Situation arises where the Will of a testator is a subject of litigation as a result of either patent or latent ambiguity involving the content, language or uncertainty as to the intention of the testator. Usually, the Court is called upon to arbitrate and construe the content of the Will. The judiciary in exercise of its authority sometimes applied extrinsic evidence in order to give true meaning to the content of an ambiguous Will. This paper is set to examine what is extrinsic evidence under Nigeria law of Evidence, admissibility of it in construction of the content of ambiguous Will and its legal implication on the right of a named beneficiary not listed as one of the beneficiaries in the Will.