A Will is a statement, which is voluntarily made by a person during his lifetime to explain his intention on how his property shall be distributed upon his death.

A Will can be of two types: An oral Will and a written Will.

An oral will is a type of a will where the wishes of the testator (the one making the will) are not in a written form, the testator only express his wishes verbally to the available witnesses on how his properties shall be distributed upon his/her death. While in a written will the testator’s wishes are put in a written form signed by him/her and witnesses who know how to read and write and who saw the testator affix his signature on the document.

In the absence of a willthe heirs of the deceased person must appoint an administrator of that deceased’s person estate. This is done at a clan meeting. The administrator has a duty of petitioning to the High Court of Tanzania, which under section 3 of the Act, has jurisdiction in all matters relating to probate and the administration of the deceased’s estates, with power to grant probates of wills and letters of administration to the estates of deceased persons and to alter or revoke such grants. The documents that must accompany the petition are minutes of the clan meeting, the death certificate of the deceased, an affidavit as to the domicile of the deceased person sworn by the administrator or one of the heirs, surety bonds executed in favor of the elected administrator.

In the presence of a willan executor needs to petition to the Court. Where the will does not name an executor, the will only serves to define the wishes of the deceased regarding how the estate should be devolved. The procedure to be followed is the same as in the absence of a will. However, if an executor is named in the will, the executor must petition to the Court to probate the will. The petition must be accompanied by a copy of the will, an affidavit to prove the domicile of the deceased, surety bonds to be executed if the will is contested.