As per the data, most of the eligible Indians do not have a WILL. If you die without writing a WILL (dying ‘intestate’ in legal language), the law will decide who would your legal heirs be and not you. Assets may get frozen under the law and your spouse and children will be running from pillar to post to get them released through the court in your absence.
You may think that you have nothing much to give away, the truth is that writing a WILL has little to do with your net worth but everything to do with leaving a legacy of love and care.
Most of us may not be aware that:-
- The nominee is not the owner of the funds on most of the financial assets rather he or she is merely a caretaker of the funds and must distribute these funds to the legal heirs of the deceased.
- Without a Will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the “Succession Acts” applicable to you. For example, under the Hindu Succession Act 1956 (applicable to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddishts, and Jains) your assets as a male will go to class 1 heirs (spouse, son, daughter, mother etc) in equal proportion. More problems arise if your mother dies after you.
- What if your spouse decides to remarry? Her share of assets may not come to your children.
- Without a Will, your loved ones might have to wait for years; running around to find out and claim your assets. You lose your RIGHT to appoint the executor of your choice to administer your estate(assets) and your preferred custodian/guardian for your minor children.
- If both parents were to die together without a WILL, the law will decide who will be the custodian of your minor child and he or she may land up in an orphanage much against your wishes.
So, to avoid these undesirable situations of dying intestate (dying without WILL), let’s understand more about the WILL and how should we go about writing it on top priority as death has no calendar.
What is a WILL
It is a legal declaration of a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property after death. A will is a written document that allows individuals to direct the way their inheritance would be maintained and divided after their death.
Why do I need a WILL?
You need a WILL to ensure
- that all your assets including digital assets are distributed and disposed of as per your wishes after your death avoiding disputes/misunderstanding or any legal interference within the family.
- that you can distribute the assets as per your wishes, giving assets to your spouse and children in different proportions, giving a part of your assets to your father (not the class 1 heir as per the Succession Act), and some assets going to your friends/charity, etc.
- that the guardian(s) is nominated for minor children who are beneficiaries in the Will, and such guardian will be responsible to look after the minor children and protect their share until the child attains 18 years of age.
Who can make a WILL?
- Any person above the age of 18 years(21 years for a person under guardian) can make a WILL with a sound mind, i.e., capable of understanding his actions and free from any undue influences.
What if I don’t make a WILL?
- When one dies without writing a Will, all assets are distributed as per succession laws applicable to your religion, like the Hindu Succession Act 1956.
- These succession laws have defined fixed proportion to be distributed to all/several family members which may not be as per your wishes. There could be chances of delay in the distribution of assets and may lead to legal battles, disputes amongst family members, etc.
- If both the parents die, the law will decide the custody of your minor child and he/she may land up in an orphanage.
How to make WILL?
- Will can be handwritten or typed, however, typed Will is preferred on plain paper. There is no requirement of making the Will on stamp paper as stamp duty is exempted from making the Will.
- A Will should cover details of your family, your assets and liabilities, your wishes, your bequeaths (assets distribution wishes). It should be signed by you on each page with two witnesses signing the document along with the date and time.
- WILL is a legal written document through which you can write down your wishes of distributing your assets among your spouse, children, and maybe friends/relatives, and do charity in the proportion you want.
- In the absence of your WILL, the assets would be distributed as per the Succession Act of your religion which may not be as per your wishes.
- By writing WILL, you will ensure your wealth gets transferred to whom you want, when you want, and without losing control over your assets till the time you are alive.
- Though the process of writing the WILL is simple, it has a lot of technicalities that one needs to take care of to withstand legal scrutiny.
- Need to know more about this? Read “Securing Your Legacy: The Importance of Estate Planning”
WILL is the best gift that you can give to your spouse and children for the smooth distribution of assets in your absence. So, don’t delay it…. Do it now.
We at, Lets Invest Wisely, a leading financial services firm, offer you to write your WILL with us. This can be done through online as well as offline modes.
You can call us at 7341137190 / 9958500720 or send a mail to [email protected]
If you need to discuss more about this, book a no-charge consultation with me at this link. (https://calendly.com/rakeshgoyal). Confidentiality is assured.
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