It’s a myth that making a will is the right of only the rich. Any adult who wants to ensure a fair & just distribution of his assets can write a will. The assets could include property, gold, financial investments, art and artefacts, even hard cash lying at home.
Every individual should write a will so that his/her heirs do not face difficulties in accessing what is rightfully theirs.
Some guidelines for making the Will
A Will need not always be on a stamp paper or be registered. It can be made even on a plain paper, and it can still be as legally valid as one made under a lawyer or supervision.
However, it is vital that the Will must identify the person preparing it as the ‘testator’. A testator is a person who is making the will.
While making a will, one must list out his/her assets and lay a blueprint of how to allocate the assets to the heirs.
It doesn’t matter if the will is typed or handwritten, all that matters is that it be signed by the testator, attested by two witnesses and be legible. It’s crucial to choose the witnesses carefully – they must be reliable. They should also be preferably younger than the testator to ensure that they are around when the will is being executed. Then it becomes an entirely valid and legitimate document for every practical purpose.
Hence making a will can be a do-it-yourself exercise for most people. However, if the assets and ownership of the property is a little complex, then one must take legal and professional help to draft the will.
Legal and professional help would ensure that there is no ambiguity and loopholes in the will that may lead to misunderstandings or disputes in future. Also, the distribution will be as per the law. It is recommended that in case the testator is old and frail, then he/she should avoid making the will him/herself and get it typed to prevent disputes among the beneficiaries.
It is important to know here that a will cannot override the natural succession of inherited/ancestral property/wealth. This means a testator cannot remove a natural heir from the inherited property.
How do you ensure that Will is free of loopholes?
To assure that your will is impeccable, follow the following instructions:
- Personal Details to be given while making a will
The testator’s name, personal details, fathers name and residential address should be explicitly stated. The date is crucial, mainly if the latest Will succeeds those made earlier and it must be mentioned in figures to rule out any fudging.
- Verify free will
Verifying free will helps to declare upfront that the testator was not under any compulsion or influence while making the will. The witnesses must also attest this at the end of the will.
- Attach executor’s details with the will
The executor of the will is the backbone of the entire process. Mention his/her name, your relationship with that person and the address to avoid misrepresentation.
- State complete Details of All the Assets
Mention complete information about the immovable property mentioned in the Will. State the entire bank accounts details, and attach the relevant deposits, lockers and insurance policies papers with the will.
- Identify the beneficiaries clearly
The name and address of the beneficiaries should be mentioned clearly.
- Give details of Mutual Funds Collectibles
While willing mutual fund investments, give the folio number though individual scheme names need not be named. Also, the collectables and artefacts being willed should be clearly defined.
- Cover Other Assets
Include any other asset you may have left out inadvertently while enumerating your net wealth.
Under what circumstances can a testator review his/her Will?
You should consider changing your will if:-
- You or any of the beneficiary mentioned in the will changes his or her name.
- there is a change in circumstances, and you want to eliminate a beneficiary or add a new one in the will.
- you sell any of the property mentioned in the will or acquire new ones.
- the executor of the will dies or is declared unfit due to old age or ill health.
- a beneficiary mentioned in the will dies.