Are you at your peace of mind that you have made nominations in all the assets owned by you and now your legal heirs won’t have any problem in accessing the same if some untoward incident take place with you? If you think so, you are wrong. A nominee is a mere custodian of the assets. He doesn’t have legal right on the asset. In case somebody dies the succession law relating to his religion would prevail and distribution of assets would take place accordingly. Therefore, if you wish to pass on certain assets to certain member of your family, a mere nomination is not enough. In order to ensure the transfer takes place smoothly, you need to create a ‘Will’.
What is a Will?
In simple parlance, a “Will” is a declaration by which a person declares his wish of distributing his assets after his demise. This ensures smooth succession planning of the wealth of person to the legal heirs without any botheration and heart burns amongst them.
For writing a Will, you need to follow certain requirements. A will can be written by only that person who is 18 and above and wants to distribute his assets. He should be a person of sound mind. It has got nothing to do with the financial status of the person. So whether you are a middle class person or a big shot, a Will allows you to dispose off your assets as per your wish. The document should clearly state that it is your Will. In the same, you have to list out all your assets to be disposed off. You should clearly mention movable and immovable properties. Disposition can also take place of digital assets like photographs, sketches, blog, websites, email accounts like gmail or yahoo and social websites like facebook and twitter etc. Under the Will you have to identify the beneficiaries to whom you wish to bequeath your assets. Also, it is not necessary to write a Will on a stamp paper. You can write a Will on a plain paper and it will have same legality as one on a stamp paper. But make sure it’s a good quality thick paper so that it doesn’t get spoiled easily. It should be neatly fold and put in an envelope. A certificate from the doctor stating your soundness of mind should be attached to the Will.
However, if the person wishing to make a Will is old and frail, he should avoid writing it himself and get it typed to avoid disputes in the future. In order for your will to become legible it must be signed by you and other two witnesses. The later should be above 18 years of age. Make sure they are younger to you. Without the attestation of the witnesses, the ‘Will’ will have no legality. However, witnesses should not be beneficiaries. Another thing is to appoint an executor who would take the responsibility of distributing your assets as per your wishes listed out in the Will. The name of the executor should also be clearly mentioned in the Will.
The good news is that rules of the Will are flexible. You can change the Will as many times as possible during your life time. Also its necessary that you should keep reviewing the Will upon change of circumstances like death of any legal heirs, divorce or remarriage of yours, arrival of a new child in the home or the passing away of the executor named in the document. You must remember that only the last made Will would be enforceable. Every Will should be dated and each page of the same should be numbered. The latest dated ‘Will’ will nullify the earlier Wills. Similarly, you can also revoke the Will or make additions in it, popularly known as Codicil.
Beneficiaries are those people to whom you wish to bequeath your property or assets. You should clearly name the beneficiaries in the Will instead of generalizing like brothers, sisters, nephew or nieces. Apart from loved ones, you can also distribute your assets to the schools, temples and colleges. You must remember that legal heirs can be excluded as beneficiaries only in case of self acquired assets. However, in case of inherited assets, the rights of the legal heirs prevail and testator should keep this in mind while drafting the Will. Since the value of the assets keeps fluctuating, it is better to mention how much each beneficiary would receive in percentage term.
Seeking professional help
You can seek the help of a professional lawyer too to write down the Will. He would ensure that there are no loopholes or ambiguity in the language that may lead to disputes later on. More importantly, he will make sure that the distribution is within the ambit of the law. In order to avoid any further disputes or challenges to the Will, you can get the process of writing, executing and witnessing the Will to be video graphed. Another option is to get it registered with the sub registrar of Assurances.
Another option for avoiding any dispute and have peace of mind is to go for creation of online Will. For the same, initiatives have been taken by National Securities Depositories Limited(NSDL). You can go to its website www.ezeewill.com and get yourself registered. Thereafter provide the data required to be included in the Will. You are not required to key in the data at one go. A one month window from enrolment to completing the process is given to you. Once you review the data and submit it you need to make a payment either through online or offline mode. At present, the service costs you Rs 4,000. The Will is drafted by professional lawyers and gets delivered to you either by email or at your doorstep through courier. However, there are additional charges for home delivery. In case you want to make changes later on, you need not worry. You have the option to modify the Will later on. And the same would be possible at discounted price.