Ever wondered what will happen to your hard-earned money after your demise? Will it get into the right hand? Doesn’t it strike hard that you must make a safer pavement for these things to undergo in your absence? Then let’s know about Leaving a mark before that final journey: The last will and testament.
The Last Will And Testament
In this article
The last will is a legal document through which you can decide the distribution of your assets. The will must contain the list of all your assets, how you want them to get inherited, the guardianship of minors (if any), the custody of the minors’ share until they are legally entitled to inherit your properties, and the name of the executor, whom you wish to appoint. You can give your assets not only to your heirs but also to any trust or charity organization. For that, you need to mention it in your testament.
The Indian Succession Act of 1925 governs all the last wills and testaments in India. But in the case of Muslims, The Muslim Personal Law and other laws govern all the last wills and testaments.
It is, however, based on the religion of the testator.
A probate court monitors the execution of the last will and testament of the executor. You can get your work related to wills, properties, etc. done in probate court.
You should register your last will at the sub-registrar’s office under the Indian Registrations Act of 1908. Frame it to immune your will from facing challenges in the court.
The last will ensures that all your hard-earned or inherited assets go to someone you trust. It will also make it easier for your children and their successors to inherit these assets.
You should appoint a trustworthy person as an executor of your last will. It will ensure that your decisions get executed exactly how you wanted them to be. In case you don’t make your last will, your properties will get distributed among your legal heirs in shares, as per the court’s decision. So it’s always better to have your own will, which makes your decision prevail even after your death.
Significance Of The Last will And Testament
The last will is a piece of legal chronicle that decides the fate of your properties after your demise. It determines who a person’s belongings should go to, how it will happen, and who is in charge of making that happen. Thus, it is one of the most mandatory works that you must carry out.
Everyone should ensure that their loved ones are safe and secure after their death. If you’re a parent or have people who depend upon you, writing a will becomes even more important for you.
While making a will, you get the opportunity to choose an executor. He’s the person who would take responsibility for the distribution of your assets. Apart from that, he can also be a legal guardian for your children.
In case you didn’t frame your last will and testament after you die, it goes into the hands of the government. If you have a payable on death accounts, your assets will go to the person you have specified on those accounts. In the least case, the legal authority tries to find out the legal heir. Then it gets shifted to his name.
Many face traumatized pressure on them to make a firm decision on such things. But, trust me, get a talk with a professional, and do accordingly.
A Support Of Solace After You
You can achieve this in various ways.
A Will or testament is nothing but the last wish of yours. It’s framed to grant your belongings and possessions to any of your beloved or charity. It modulates your family or others’ rights on your property after your death. The people or the foundation that acquires the possessions in a legal procedure is called a beneficiary. The person who frames a testament is called an administrator or executor.
In a few cases, an administrator or an executor takes over the control. He’s a person who heads the task of ensuring that the actual person avails of your property, as per your will. The agent you hired may or may not be an inheritor. However, administering an executor or an administrator depends on your choice. If you want, hire them or don’t.
If the person you appointed as the administrator, it’s ethical to repay the services in the form of some shares. Otherwise, if he’s an outsider, he might receive some compensation amount. However, there are risks involved if you’re naming a beneficiary as your executor. It might lead to a bitter cold war.
It can also happen that the other legatees may band together and get this executor thrashed off. Thus, to sort this in a better manner, it’s advised to designate a co-administrator. He can aid the activities of your administrator.
Things You Must Keep In Mind Before Framing A Last Will And Testament
i. Your Possessions
It includes your investments, possessions, retirement propositions, life insurance schemes, business plans, etc.
ii. Your arrears
Your last will is probably one of the easiest ways to clear your arrears and debts (if any).
At first, the value of your possessions will take care of your funeral expenses and the cost of the transfer. In case any of your investors receives a house that you had kept as a security mortgage against your unpaid debt. Thus, your investor can auction it off to pay the loan.
iii. Your beneficiaries
Your beneficiaries or legatees take over your possessions after you pass away. However, the final statement depends on your last will and testament.
iv. The executor of your estate
As mentioned, the executor handles the transferring of your belongings to your legatees. Thus, the executor must check that the possessions get handed to the right heiress. Apart from that, he also takes care of your bill payments, accounts work, etc.
v. Correct custodianship
He must take care of the kids of your family. That is, he must at least take care of them till they turn adults.
Classifications Of Last Will
1. Holographic Or A Hand-Written Will
A holographic will may be the last will that’s written in the testator’s handwriting. In some states, the testator just signs in the print out of the original testament. While in others, if you fail to mention the date when you are made in the testament, it gets rejected. Some territories do not take into account the hand-written last will and testament. So, you can compare the scenario prevailing in different states.
Some states don’t take hand-written testaments into account, like Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Rhode Island.
2. Nuncupative Will
It’s also called an oral will. In case the testator passes away in an untimely death, you’ll face a serious problem. Thus, it’s better to opt for a safe back-up. This will is thus, be framed in such a situation. It is in other words, called a “dying declaration.”
There are states where such testaments are created a sense of irrelevance. While in others, once spoken, the person’s final wishes must get reduced to writing. Apart from that, in some states, these testaments get restricted to the army employees. Effects such as jewelry or artwork or a limited value of the property.
3. Pour-Over Will
As per this will, some portion of your possessions gets shifted in the name of a trust. In other words, it works as a concurrence with trust. Using this testament, you can also get negligence from the probate court. Thus, it’s a smart way used by many.
It is only used to revoke all prior wills, direct the probate assets to be “poured over” into a revocable living trust, an executor, and a guardian for minor children.
4. Self Proved Will
It’s a type of last will and testament that gets substantiated under an affidavit’s grip. The witnesses must sign it. It must get carried out before the approved officer. The purpose of this “self-proving affidavit” is to verify that the witnesses saw the testator sign the desire. It also eases the need for you to get hold of an affidavit from the spectator after the testator’s demise.
5. Living Will
From the name, you must be thinking it’s somewhat like the last wish, isn’t it? But no, it is not what it seems to be. By a living will, you can state your wishes. You can frame them in terms of the speechless document, especially based on medical terms. This becomes even more important if you are single.
Letter Of Edict
Information that you must include in your letter of edict:
i. It must include on whom shall you want to grant your possessions.
ii. Preferred charities for donations.
iii. The location of legal and financial documents such as bank and social security statements, tax returns, birth and marriage certificates, divorce and citizenship papers, social security cards, titles, wills, and trusts is also necessary.
iv. A list of all financial account inheritors and their contact information is necessary.
v. The location of all safe deposit boxes and their keys.
vi. The contact information of any debtors, such as mortgages, credit cards, and car loans.
vii. Details and contact information of the person for all insurance coverage. It includes especially life insurance.
viii. Instructions for the care and placement of their pets.
How To Frame A Will?
- While learning how to write a will, it is most important to get started simply.
- You can easily write it online. Like typing in WhatsApp, you can type things, and if you can’t, you can request an advocate for assistance.
- It is essential to identify your will’s inheritors.
- Another most important aspect is selecting appropriate custody. The person must take care of your kids after you’ve left.
- Choose an administrator of your possessions. The person must fulfill your wishes as you wanted.
- Mark two outsiders, whom you haven’t mentioned in your testament. Talk to them and ask them to sign as well.
- Get the signature of the registrar of your area. Although most states don’t need it, yet some do.
Steps To Frame Last Will And Testament
1. Beneficiary Or The Administrator Of Your Will
The first step to frame your last will and testament is choosing the administrator of your will. On your last will form, you can designate anyone (one and more) as your beneficiary. You choose your administrator among your family or acquaintance.
In case your child is a minor, you must mention the name of an administrator. He must take care of the possessions until your child turns 18.
Apart from mentioning who shall receive your property, you can also frame a legacy. You can even leave a specific item or asset for a person or entity. In that case, consider speaking to an attorney or a tax advisor about any bequests.
2. Choosing A Legal Guardian
Choosing the custody of your children is something no one other than the parents can decide on. In many instances, people usually choose their close family members. Think about naming back up legal guardians in your last will. It will create a shield of parenthood in case of your unfortunate demise.
If you’re interrogated about your custodianship, you can resolve it with a letter of clarification. The court just carries out its duty to weave a scenario as per your child’s wants. So you must present in front of the court why the person you chose is acceptable. It is also necessary to mention if your child is well comfortable with this person.
If your family has a complicated child custody situation, a will alone can’t ensure you get your way. In such cases, it’s better to be under the sheer consultancy of your administrator. Consult him regarding how shall you frame your last will and testament.
3. Thinking About Your Digital Assets
If you were to pass away, what do you want to be done to your Facebook account? Is your wife aware of your Facebook or Instagram password?
If you want to make any modifications, you can easily do so by referring to this with your administrator. For that, make sure you’ve scribbled the login credentials in a safe noticeable place.
You might not get include these in a normal will template. Yet, you can include the instructions that you think are necessary in your last will form.
4. The Administrator Of Your Will
To mention an administrator of your will, you can name anyone from your family members. You can also choose from any of your close acquaintances. It’s free will, and you can name anyone you want. The only requirements are that he must bear is that he must be a legally competent adult. Added to that, he must also be a US citizen or green cardholder.
Some people usually go for a lawyer. It’s somewhat better if you want to go for a skilled person in that field.
5. Legalizing Your Last Will And Testament
Each state has its requirements for what makes a last will legally bond. However, it is very easy to carry out. You should be in sound mind and have at least two people to witness when you sign your last will.
6. Registering Your Will
It is strongly recommended to register a Will, although it isn’t mandatory. Registering your will means your will is in safe hands, under the sight of the law.
Adding up to the advantage, a copy of your testament also stays with the registrar. So, in case you lose it or need it in the future, you can find it in the registrar’s office. Only the registrar can see the documents. So, don’t worry about your testament.
Although you can make your wills hand-written, still thinking of a safer side, you must
Improvisations Of Your Last Will And Testament
In case you need to make some changes in your testament, you’ll need to update the document.
- In case you adopt a kid.
- If you tie a knot or unfortunately divorce.
- Buying or selling a home.
- If unfortunately, one of your heiress dies.
- If you want to modify or make any changes in your testament.
You can carry this out under the shade of ‘Codicil.’ It is a form of a document through which you can modify or alter any changes in your testament. You can modify who will inherit your property, agent, etc.
After accomplishing the job, make sure you affix the Codicil to your last will and testament. However, in case you’ve made it online, then kudos to you! You can make any changes you want with your finger click itself.
Thus, take a print-out of your latest modified testament after the modification.
- Visit the authenticate site. Provide the credentials and login.
- You’ll find an option “update will.” Click it.
So, next, let’s know how to frame a digital will.
There are several ways how you can create your last will and testament in the online method. Gone are the days when you had to run several offices, approach advocates for getting your work done. Now, you can make important documents, including your last will and testaments, online. Just like typing in WhatsApp, you have to type and then take a print out. Mentioned below are the steps for creating an e-will. But before that, let’s know if you need to make any preparations beforehand.
Prior Preparations For Creating Digital Testament
i. Make a list of all your possessions that will get inherited after your demise.
ii. Make a list of your inheritors.
iii. Keep in your frame at least 2 people whom you can trust blindfolded.
iv. Which property you want to give to which of your inheritors.
Steps For Creating A Digital Testament
Step-1: Choose one of the authenticate sites for online will making. Provide your requisite credentials and login.
Step-2: If you want to go for safe sites, you need not pay anything. However, the paid sites are more secure. Thus, you need to make the payment through your debit/credit card. You can go for online payment apps, but it is more secure to pay through debit/credit cards.
Step-3: Provide the information of your family members, children, religion, profession, etc.
Step-4: Provide the list of the possessions.
Step-5: After providing all the information, tap on the option showing ‘SUBMIT.’
Step-6: After submitting, you’ll get an outline of the information you submitted. You can make any changes if you want.
Step-7: After the final confirmation, you’ll get the final outline in the email id you provided. You shall also receive it in the form of hard-copy in the residential address you provided
Documents That You Must Tie With Your Last Will
Mentioned below are the documents that you must tie with your last will:
a. Your therapeutic power of attorney:
You can mention someone whose is in the shade of your trust, i.e., you can trust that person to make major decisions. He must make sure if you want to be on life support or can manage things yourself.
b. A living will:
A living will record your wishes about your medical care. It even assists you in providing medical facilities if you become debilitated.
c. A sturdy power of attorney:
It includes crowning the one who can handle your investments. He must takeover in case you’re debilitated and are unable to deal with it yourself.
Law Differs From State To State
Surf the rules and regulations related to the will of your property in the state you live in. For instance, the rules of holography, testaments, etc. vary with every state. You must refer a certified attorney for a clear understanding relating to such things.
Now, you must be thinking, what is living will again. So, the living will is a speechless exclamation of your wish in the form of a document.
If you frame a living will when you’re on good terms with your health, you can let your family members know what’s on your mind on your treatment. At the time when you’re unable to communicate, this will come to work. It’s also called the healthcare directive.
Consequences Of Not Having A Will
When a person fails to frame a will, the situation is known as demise in ‘intestate’. It in other means, lending it in the hands of the government to decide. It’s a state of the family’s plight as the government may not take into account your family’s wishes. It will decide on its own about whom to handover the possessions to.
Any of your blood relatives can even pole a demand to the estate. The children can also get a custodianship if passed by the court.
At last, make sure you frame your will in a proper legal and ethical manner. In case you forbid to carry this out, your last will and testament get rejected in the name of ‘fraud.’
a. In case you don’t frame a testament, you’ll lose to get an administrator of your possessions. It might pose a threat to the safety of your possessions or can even snatch it from your inheritors’ hands.
b. By framing a last will and testament, you can provide a custodian for your kids in case of your unfortunate demise. Almost every parent in this knows how important it is to fix a guardian for their children in their absence.
c. Your heiress may not receive the ample amount of their share from your possessions. When an open property is left out without a will, it can also attract outsiders apart from your children. Family disputes and further leading to crimes, in the worst cases.
d. Apart from these, your family members will have to bear extra expenditure on advocates. Then they’ll have to rely on the government orders further.
e. Especially in the case of a lineage business, it is the utmost required to frame a testament. Since it’s a matter of a deal from a long time, involving a huge amount of your investment, hard-work. You must never take a chance on it.
f. You may never know the next play of nature. Situation prevails when due to any natural calamity, the family loses their lives. In such a case, if you don’t create a last will and testament, it might go into the hands of an unwanted person. The person who has never been in touch with you for long will take hold of your property. Thus, it is somewhat better to donate it to any charity that giving in the hands of such a person.
g. In case you’re leaving behind a series of debts to get cleared. Thus, you must mention which one is the least wanted. As per that, your children can sell to clear the arrears or the investment ways to validate.
Given how little we know about death and the fact that death can approach us at any time. Thus, we must make wise decisions during the time we are alive.
No doubt the online media is way powerful these days. However, showcasing your last words needs stringent authentication. Thus, if you’re carrying this out online, make sure the site is legally sound.
Thus, framing a will as per your desire is what’s called the utmost requirement of the moment.
- If, in the worst case, you with your spouse pass away, your children will remain in the custody of a custodian. The court chooses it.
- In case of your demise, the government takes over control over your possessions. It’s then the court’s decisions to whom shall it give the share.
- By writing a will, you will have complete control over what you want to get done with all your assets after you die.
- Life insurance schemes with mentioned inheritors cannot proceed against the probate court.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Do I need a will?
i. The main benefit is no interference. In short, be it the law or any person, no one can interfere between you and your testament. If you leave behind a set of instructions through your will, all your possessions will be distributed. It’s distributed within people or to institutions, according to your choice only.
ii. One of the main reasons is to restrict any family disagreement and clash. It prevents the relatives from bulging into it and putting a nose to engulf anything. Added to that, the elderly members in your family are also not left out.
iii. After your demise, the elderly and kids of your family will be under a safe shade. By your last will and testament, a proper custodianship can get engaged to your family.
iv. Your properties will get legal recognition.
v. Arrears and onus can get dealt with in a better manner. In case you’ve certain loans, you must also mention ways how you want to deal with them.
vi. Don’t worry about your possessions. Until and unless you make it crystal clear in your testament, it won’t get into the hands of any fund. The charity funding or donations does not come under the shade of the intestacy laws. You can make such a contribution through your last will and testament only.
2. Where should I keep my will?
Thus, it must be safe, secure, covered with a water-proof layer whatever be the place you keep. Apart from that, you must tell the location of it only to your administrator.
3. Do I need a will if I have a payable-on-death (POD) account?
4. What is probate, exactly? And should I try to avoid it?
The probate exercise stands as a strong witness to put forth the legality of your will. It executes the instructions you have given in the will and pays the applicable taxes.
If your last will is well-written and clear enough, it would be much easier to face the probate process. Don’t assume your will only to put forth your last wishes related to your properties. It also plays a great role in deciding who shall take-over the custodianship of your legal heirs. It comes into the light if you and your spouse passes away.
5. Is a testament and power of attorney the same?
Added to that, make sure your family members don’t let it go out of their clutches too.
6. Can I have both a will and a trust fund?
It’s always safe to issue both a testament and a trust fund. It ensures no faulty in transferring your possessions to the right man you wanted. If you put your money into a trust, you will be able to pass your property to a person in a well-structured manner. Yet, you can still impose your own rules.
7. Is there a way to pass down intangible values rather than materialistic possessions?
Do you know how the last will passes down your materialistic belongings? It curbs your muse on your regrets, how you want people to think back about you, etc.
8. What should you never put on your Will?
i. Any Property that is Co-Owned with Someone Else Through a Joint-Tenancy: Married couples own their marital home in a joint tenancy.
ii. Any Property that is being held in a living trust.
9. How do you end a will?
10. What would make a will invalid?
There are incidences when by swindling, one can take away your shares by a fake will. If this matter gets proved in the court of law, the will becomes invalid.
11. How long does a Will take to be read after someone dies?
12. Are will and testament the same?
Framing a testament ensures that you take the aid of an agent. The agent ensures that the property gets granted to the right hands. Added to that, it also ensures a legal guardian for your children.
By now, you must have understood the importance of a testament. Isn’t it? I hope this article, helped you in getting an idea about the last will and testament. So, if you haven’t framed one till now, hurry up!