A Will is a document which talks about how you wish to distribute your assets after your death. It can be made by anyone above 21 years of age in India. There is usually a misconception that a Will needs to be made only by the wealthy or only during the later stage of your life. However, you should make a Will irrespective of your portfolio’s size. The earlier you make a Will, the better. It should be one of the first few things you do when you begin investing and building assets.
How can writing a Will help you and your family?
When you write a Will, you can decide who will get how much of your assets. You can also decide when the beneficiary will get the inheritance. Having a registered Will can help your family and loved ones receive your property after your death without any legal hassle. The absence of a Will may result in court intervention to distribute your property and several years may pass while the legal formalities are being complied with.
How can you make a Will?
A Will can be hand-written or typed on a simple A4 paper (there is no need for stamp paper). It is however better if your Will is hand-written, as it is easier to verify it later in case of a dispute. It is not compulsory to register your Will. However, when you register a Will before a Sub-Registrar, it will be a prima facie proof that it has been duly executed, and challenging its veracity after your death will be difficult. The registration can be done at the Registrar’s or Sub-Registrar’s office. You must be present in person, and must be accompanied by two independent witnesses. The Will must be signed by you and verified by these witnesses by signing and giving their details. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries in the Will. You must mention the date and place in the Will and seal the envelope. Keep it in a safe, fire-proof place.
Although it is not required by law, it is recommended to take the help of a trusted lawyer before you write your Will.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you write your Will:
- A Will must be dated. In case there is more than one Will, the one dated the latest will supersede all other previous Wills.
- You must state you full name and address in your Will, with the title of the Will carrying your name. The Will should also have a declaration that you are making the Will in your full senses and not by force from anyone.
- You must name an Executor (one who executes the Will) in the Will, and if an outside person is nominated for this purpose, you must ask his permission first. The Executor is the one who will be responsible in distributing your assets as per your Will and carry out the process after your death. Hence, he must be someone trustworthy.
- It is recommended that you write your Will in simple language, and clearly specify the instructions. Do not write vague, unclear statements.
- Your Will must contain details of all your assets (including the place of storage/location of the asset) and their value. You must indicate the persons who will get a share of these assets on your death and the proportion distributable to each person. In case of transfer of assets to a minor, you must mention the custodian’s details as well.
- Your Will should talk about the disposal of all your assets-both movable and immovable. Ideally, even household items, paintings and furniture should be included, to avoid any confusion at a later stage. Assets, for which provision is not made in the Will, will be considered intestate succession.
- As and when the situation changes or you add or dispose assets, these changes must be incorporated in your Will.
- It is recommended to number the pages of the Will and also indicate the total number of pages at the end of the Will. This is to avoid substitution or replacement of pages of the original Will by anyone.
- A Will is a document of your assets, and hence you are not obliged to disclose its contents to anyone.
Remember, your Will becomes effective only after your death. Thus it is entirely upto you to deal with your assets in any way you want in your lifetime. A Will is one of the most important documents you create. It is therefore advisable to prepare this with utmost care and take qualified professional help from a trusted advocate. #gettingyourich