If you care enough you WILL say it

The Power of the will

Leave no hassles for your inheritors

A large number of property disputes arise simply because a lot of people avoid making a Will. For the simple want of a clear document specifying the way a person’s assets would be distributed after he is no more, a lot of hassles are faced by the people left behind. This document forms the basis for the just division of property and other assets of the deceased.

Simply stated, a Will is a vital document that any person needs to have to declare how his assets will get divided and distributed after his death. This can be formulated after proper legal advice so that there are no errors in the statement put forth. Making a Will is a method he has of ensuring that his wishes be respected after his death. The absence of a Will can lead to complexities for the family later on. This legal document can prove to be a great help in avoiding conflict for the family after the person’s demise.

If a person tries to write on his own or execute writings that he or she has prepared on his own, it can lead to certain problems during the time of implementation after the death of the person. Post-death, the property of any individual can be distributed in two fundamental ways:

1)    As per the law of natural succession when the situation is ‘intestate’ i:e no Will has been made

2)    Through a Will i:e ‘testamentary.’

There are certain characteristics of the Will document that need to be understood:

  • A Will is a Legal Declaration, meaning that the papers of the Will should be in conformity with the law and also must be executed by an individual who is legally competent to make the Will. More so, it should be signed and attested as required by law. Sound legal advice is needed for making a Will, and the matter can be taken care of by a competent law firm.
  • The Will document relates to the distribution of the property or other assets of the person who is making it.
  • It will come into force only post-death of the Testator. It doesn’t give any right to the inheritor till the person making the Will is no more.
  • It can be revoked any time during the lifetime of the person making it – also called the ‘testator.’

Who can make a Will?

The Indian Succession Act (Section 59) says that any person with a sound mind is capable of making a Will. However, it cannot be done by lunatics & insane individuals and minors i.e. below 18 years of age. It is advisable to make the Will with the advice of a law firm.

The document can be even be made by persons who are deaf or dumb or blind provided they get to know and understand what exactly they are doing by the Will. If an ordinarily insane person makes a document while he is of sound state, it would still be considered a record to be considered. However, an intoxicated or ill person who does not know what he is doing cannot make it.

Other trivia you need to know-

  • Every Will would require an Executor that is, the person authorized to administer the property of the person making the document.
  • The stipulation for the executor can be either in the primary Will document or the Codicil (the addendum, in other words).
  • This addition is written in the context of the Will, explaining, altering or adding to the disposition therein.
  • There are situations where the main testator wants to change the names of the executors or nominees – this can be done by making a codicil in addition to the Will.
  • Like the primary document, the Codicil also needs to be in writing and be signed by the Testator and attested by two witnesses.
  • Contrary to what people assume at times, the Will is not the same as the ‘nomination.’ A nominee only acts as a trustee.
  • Sometimes, the beneficiary and the nominee are the same. This is usually a better situation to have since it prevents disputes.
  • Attestation is vital. Two or more witnesses can attest the document.

Making a Will is crucial and the document is needed for clarity and avoidance of disputes. More on the specifics of the procedure etc. in the following days.