Why And How To Write Your Will
Jan 11, 2011

Author: PersonalFN Content & Research Team

Most of us have the same primary goal in our financial lives - to build wealth.

 

But have you ever thought about what will happen to this wealth in case you are not around to ensure it goes to your loved ones? All the hard work done by you in your life so far can be wiped clean in one instant, in case of your unfortunate demise if you have not left a Will behind. There have been numerous instances of assets being seized by the Government or going into dispute for years, even decades, in the absence of a clear and binding Will.

 

This is where estate planning comes in.

 

Estate planning in simple terms refers to the passing down of assets from one generation to another. Most of us are under the impression that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. But, the fact is that estate planning is essential for all, regardless the size of their portfolio. And it should be done from the very first day you have an asset to bequeath (for example – your very first investment into a mutual fund).

 

This prevents the addition of financial and legal grief to the emotional grief your loved ones will already be facing in case of your absence.

 

Here are some advantages of Estate Planning:

 
  1. You can decide who receives what share of your assets
  2. You can decide how and when your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance
  3. You can decide who will manage your estate in your absence
  4. Estate planning saves your family and loved ones from going through the additional burden of reverting to the law to distribute the assets to the legal heirs in case of an intestate (dying without a legal will) demise.
 

One of the most important points within estate planning, is making a Will. Your will must be legal and valid within India, and fortunately it is much easier to make a legal, valid will in India than in some other countries.

 

Here are 10 important points that must be kept in mind while writing a will:

 
  1. You need to be atleast 21 years old to write a Will. Do use the title ‘Last Will And Testament Of (state your name here)’ to make it clear that the document is your Will.

  2. State your full name, current address, and state that you are of sound mental state and under no duress from anyone to make the Will. Also name an Executor, a person who will carry through the tenets of the Will. You can name your spouse or the main beneficiary. If you are nominating an outside person to be the executor of your will, you must ask their permission first. If you have minor children, you must also indicate a guardian for them in your absence.

  3. Your Will should be Simple, Precise and Clear. Otherwise there may be problems for the legal heirs. It is always better to take the advice of a trusted advocate when writing your will.

  4. A Will must always be dated. If more than one Will is made then the one having the latest date will nullify all other Wills.

  5. It is better to make a Will at a younger age. As and when events or changes in the family necessitate changes the Will can be changed.

  6. A Will can be hand-written or typed out. No stamp paper is necessary. You can write a Will on a simple A4 piece of paper, sign and date it with witnesses and keep it in a secure location. It is often recommended to write your Will in your own handwriting as this can be verified later if there are any doubts raised by relatives.

  7. Each page of the Will should be serially numbered and signed by the Testator (that is you) and the Witnesses. This is to prevent the Will being substituted, replaced, or pages being inserted by people intending to commit fraud. At the end of the Will you (the Testator) should indicate the total number of pages in the Will. Corrections if any should be countersigned.

  8. If there are too many changes in the Will, it is better to prepare an entirely new Will rather than making modifications to an old Will.

  9. It is not compulsory for one to register a Will with the Registering Authority, but in case any property or asset is given to any charitable organization, then registration should be done.

  10. A Will becomes operative only after the demise of the person making the Will i.e. the Testator. There is no restriction in the way you can deal with any assets even after making a Will.
 

Remember, this is one of the most important documents you will ever create – detailing the distribution of the wealth you have worked so hard to build – to your loved ones.

 

It is important to ensure that it is done correctly –take qualified professional assistance as required from a trusted advocate, as with all your financial planning decisions.



Add Comments

Comments
ashwin53@yahoo.com
Aug 21, 2013

If a property say 1) A flat in CHS or 2) A commercial Shop or office, if held in two names, of say Husband and Wife in say 75:25 or 60:40 proportions and accordingly shown in balance sheets of Both i.e. Husband and wife's. My question is : 1) Is it necessary for them to make a joint Will or 2) Either individual can make their will and transfer their share of holding to the Beneficiary of their choice. What is advisable?? Are you providing the service of making a Will ? If yes what are the charges?

Aug 27, 2011

Is there a way to fight against a will that is written by force?
ranjanmohanmaitra@gmail.com
Feb 25, 2014

highly authentic, very much useful and very simple. thanks. request every reader to BOOK MARK.

Jan 11, 2011

 For writing a will how many witnesses are required and who can be the witness to the will ?Can the will writers' wife, son who may be the feneficiaries of the will sign as witness of  the will? Where the will can be kept  after writing for further use and reference?
seaferrer@yahoo.co.uk
Jan 11, 2011

I liked the article but think there are a few doubts in my mind.
1.You say the witnesses must sign on every page to avoid the risk that pages may be substituted- but my Will has the witneeses who have only signed on the last page after my signature- is my Will invalid?
2. I was a 25pct owner of a pvt ltd company in which there are disputes with the other shareholders (2 out of 3 others); can I Will my share to one of my children.
3. I was a life interest partner in a plantation but along the line the partnership was dissolved and two new partnerships were formed- I became a 20 pct shareholder in one of them giving up my rights in the other. I was clearly told that I became an absolute partner post dissolution of the original one.I have therefore Willed my share but my other partners are of the view that I am still only a life interest partner ( I gave up property in the dissolution that was bought after I became a LI partner from the firm profits) and remained with the group that got the original part plus some more acquired property)- they have told me they will challenge my Will if I do not leave my share to them only.
4.What happens to the belongings in the home my late husband had that are in my possession- are they mine to Will or not; I have Willed them
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