Thinking of death and your family after you die is often the last thing anyone wants to think about. But ensuring your loved one’s livelihood after you pass is one thing you’ll be glad you thought and did. One such way to do this is to write a Will.
A Will is a legal document that is your spokesperson after you die. This will let you divide and distribute your assets to your family. Further, allowing them to continue living the life they lived. Laying out what belongs to whom or what percent is theirs allows a lot of stress and confusion to be reduced. Now that the importance of a Will is clear, this article brings you all the details you’d need to write a will.
How To Write A Will
Writing out a Will is a simple task if the approved format is in place. This includes the task of listing out all your assets and who you want to give them to. To avoid the risk of making a mistake, people often get it done professionally. Wills written without any consultation have the risk of being ruled invalid by the court. Various reasons, such as not containing all requirements or using ambiguous language. Getting it written through a lawyer allows you to be at peace. Properly drafting your Will reduced its chances of it getting challenged in court. One can also fill out their Will online through e-will portals.
What Should Be Included In A Will?
All the movable and immovable assets should be in your Will. This includes real estate, fixed deposits, securities, bonds, proceedings of insurance policies, etc. One can choose to include retirement benefits, collection, precious metals, brand names, etc. In some cases, obligations and liabilities are also passed on.
Steps On Making A Will
The first step of making a Will is writing out the declaration. One must specify that they are forming this Will of their own will and are not under any influence. You must also write down your name, age, address.
2. Property And Document Details
This step includes listing all your assets. This includes your properties, share certificates, fixed deposits, mutual funds, etc.
Providing an estimate of their current value is a must. You must also write where the documents for these assets are.
3. Ownership Details
Now comes the part for which you have drawn up a Will, allocating your assets. In this step, you must clearly write down which person gets what percentage of an asset they get. If a minor is inheriting anything, a custodian is set in place. This custodian must hand over the assets once the minor reaches adulthood. The executor of the Will must also be specified.
4. Signing The Will
Once every asset and their future owner has been listed, now comes the step pf wrapping up the Will. You must sign on every page of the Will in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses must be independent and also not direct beneficiaries of the Will. The witnesses’ signatures are also required on all the pages.
The Will must be sealed in an envelope after all formalities have been done. You must sign and write the date on the Will.
Changing Your Will
You can change your Will however many times you want. Every time you make a new Will, there must be a statement that the latest will nullifies all previous ones. If this is not done, it can lead to major confusion.
Executing The Will
To execute the Will, it is necessary to appoint a person as the Executor. They are responsible for carrying out your wishes laid down in the Will. They ensure that all your wealth is divided amongst those who you wanted.
It is vital to make sure that you have selected the correct person to be your executor. It is a common mistake in selecting friends, family, or relatives in a similar age group. It is important to select a younger person to ensure that they are well and alive at the time of your passing. Another common error made is, appointing your young, minor children to be the executor. Above all, it is important to note that your executor should have their best interests at heart. One can also opt for a third-party executor to ensure objectivity.
Execution of your Will in the presence of a judicial Magistrate is also done. Or it can be in the presence of a public notary, nominated by the government.
Probate is the copy of your Will, certified under the seal of the court. The executor must file for it in court. A probate petition must be filed in the court of law and can take up to six months or a year. The cost includes legal fees and stamp duty based on the value of the property.
The Registrar has to get the Will to issue probate. The Registrar may ask the witnesses to sign some documents. They sometimes ask to put out an advertisement in the newspaper to ensure that the Will is not contested. The requirements differ for each state.
Getting a Probate is a crucial step in ensuring that the Will is properly executed. The executor has no right unless the court grants the probate. Probate is essential in the case of Real Estate. Societies may not even transfer the apartment without probate. In cases like this, selling these properties is a challenging task.
Tips On Writing Your Will
1. Write every name in full and make sure it matches those in official documents.
2. Update the Will on any change that might occur. These can be, buying or selling assets, changing the beneficiaries, etc.
3. Writing a non-specific and not detailed Will is an error that can be detrimental later. Make sure that you write a will in an extremely detailed manner. Be sure to mention every bank account or locker number. In the case of investments or insurances, write down the scheme, institution, etc.
4. Please don’t make your beneficiary your witness as it is illegal to do so. Make sure that your witness is in no way benefitting from the Will.
5. If possible, ensure that your two witnesses are a doctor and a lawyer. The doctor can ensure that you were in the right mind when you wrote your Will. The lawyer can ensure that there are a proper format and no mistakes.
6. Write a Will on thick white paper to avoid wear and tear over the years. To further secure it, it can also be stored in a plastic envelope.
7. Will should be ideally stored in your bank. You must inform someone you trust where Wil is. It is recommended to make only one more copy of your Will and keep it separate from the original.
8. The value of certain assets is always fluctuating. Rather than writing how much each person will receive in absolute numbers, it is advised to do so in percentages.
I, Arjun Gupta, aged 34 hereby write my final Will. Any previous Wills was revoked under the law of India. I am writing my Will freely and without any persuasion or pressure. I am in good mental and physical health. I am in a position to comprehend what I am writing in this Will.
I appoint Rinky Jain as the executor of my Will
As of today, I own the following assets
a. One 4 BHK flat at Eden Heights, Gurugram with area 3500 sq. ft bought on 19th April 2002 costing Rs. 56,000
b. Cash of Rs. 10 lakhs in my Fixed Deposit at HDFC Bank, New Friends Colony, Delhi
c. 50 lakhs in mutual funds and 50 shares of Reliance Industries.
All documents can be found in my HDFC Bank Locker at the New Friends Colony branch.
After my death, I want my assets to be distributed, as mentioned below.
i. Item (a) should be given to my daughter, Rimi Gupta, whose birth date is 4th January 1999, and she resides in 345 Eden Heights, Gurugram.
ii. Item (b) should be given to my son, Rupesh Gupta, whose birth date is 8th May 2001, and he resides in 345 Eden Heights, Gurugram.
iii. Item (c) should be given to my wife, Sanji Gupta, whose birth date is 19th December 1971, and she resides in 345 Eden Heights, Gurugram.
Both the witnesses are present together while writing and signing Will.
Witness 1 signature
Witness 2 signature
Importance Of A Will
Ideally, anyone with property and assets should have a Will in place as early as possible. This gives you the option of updating it further down the line if ever needed. Making a detailed out Will can put one to ease.
You can make important decisions like
- Choosing a guardian to take care of your minor children. Making a Will in advance will help you evaluate the person and make a decision you’re comfortable with.
- It gives you the authority to plan your distribution, thus avoiding conflict, which might have otherwise occurred if the court distributed your assets.
- Securing the future of your loved ones. It ensures safety and financial security.
- It allows you to remove people from inheriting your assets who earlier would have.
- Choosing to leave your inheritance to friends or far relative.
- It allows you to decide whether you want to donate a certain amount of your inheritance.
What Happens If One Dies Without A Will?
Enforcement of the Succession laws takes place if there is no Will in place. The assets are then distributed as per your religion under the Succession Act. Hindu Succession Act 1956 and Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005 applies to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists. Distribution of shares is under Islamic laws of inheritance laws for Muslims.
1. Is it mandatory to register a Will? If not, should I do it?
2. What happens if the person passes away without appointing an executor?
3. Should we Will be hand-written or types?
4. Will the beneficiary have to pay any taxes on the assets?
5. Is it possible to waiver the right to challenge a Will?
6. Does the Will remain valid even if one of the two witnesses die?
7. On what grounds can a Will be challenged?
The Will can be challenged in court for the following reasons-
The testator was under influence or pressure.
The Will is suspicious in nature.
The Will was not executed properly.
The testator does not know about signing the Will.
8. Can oversee assets be written in Wills?
9. How will my religion affect my Will?
This article brings you all the knowledge you’ll need to write a Will. One should always make their Will the earliest possible and keep updating it as time goes on.