Planning for the Unexpected: How Creating a Will Protects your assets and your family
Welcome to the final part of the series, where we will discuss the last part of a well-built financial foundation is creating a will for your family members.
Creating a will is the least-talked-about subject. And you won’t find many discussing it openly.
People suppose that talking about creating a will invites many questions they feel better leaving alone. At times when you encourage someone to do so, they think you have an eye toward their property.
But I feel times are changing, and with rising uncertainties, you must decide that what you have earned with your hard work must go to the rightful owner that you see fit.
It is the place where creating a will finds its importance. The legal heirs engage in disputes and court battles, which does not go well for any party. And to find a spot for themselves in the will, they have to spend money out of their pocket. Talk about irony.
Although most people know how important creating a will is, many put it off because they believe it is too complicated, morbid, or expensive. In actuality, a will can assist you in safeguarding your possessions and your family in unforeseen circumstances.
Indian Succession Act 1956
The Indian Succession Act of 1956 governs the making of wills in India. A will is a legally binding document that specifies how your assets will be allocated after your death under this statute. It is significant to note that your possessions will be allocated following your religion’s regulations if you pass away without a will, which might not be what you would have preferred.
In India, making a will gives you power over the distribution of your possessions. You have the option to decide who should receive your assets as well as the distribution percentage. If you have young children, a will might specify who will look after them after your death. You can choose a guardian for your kids in your will, which will assist make sure they are raised by a reliable individual.
Creating A Will
A will is made up of numerous components that, when properly completed, form a full will. There is a template, which has been widely used for millennia, even though there is no legal or specified standard. It is easy to understand, highly logical, and grounded in common sense. Let’s examine the overall structure and a few key considerations while writing a will.
Step 1: An initial declaration
You must state in the first paragraph that you are making this will voluntarily and without undue coercion. To prove that you are truly drafting the will, you must provide your name, residence, age, and other details.
Step 2: Property and Document Details:
The next stage is to identify all the goods you own together with their current valuations, such as your house, land, bank fixed deposits, investments from the mail, mutual funds, and stock certificates. You must also say where you keep all of these records. They most likely reside in the safe deposit box at your bank.
Even the will ought to be kept there! Ensure that you obtain information from the bank manager regarding the steps and regulations for releasing your will from the safe deposit box after your passing. Make sure to tell your family members or the will’s executor about it.
Step 3: Ownership information. At the end of the will, you should specify who will hold your assets and to what extent following your passing. If you are transferring assets to a juvenile, be sure to choose a custodian to oversee those assets until the recipient achieves legal adulthood. Of course, the caretaker ought to be a reliable individual.
Step 4: Signing the Will: After you’ve finished writing your will, you must sign it properly in front of two or more witnesses who are both independent. Their signatures serve as a confirmation that you signed the will in their presence. At the bottom of the will, it must also be very clear what day and where.
Ensure that you, the witnesses, and each page of the will are signed. One thing to keep in mind while choosing witnesses is that they shouldn’t be the direct beneficiaries of your will but rather your friends, neighbors, or coworkers. They merely vouch for the fact that you signed the will in their presence and were not involved in its creation in India.
Will execution be in court?
After you pass away, a person known as an “Executor” will be in charge of distributing your assets to your beneficiaries and ensuring a smooth process (You must have seen this in Hindi movies). In India, having the will executed in front of a judge in a court of law is not legally needed.
Nonetheless, if you so want, the will may be signed and sealed in front of a magistrate or public notary appointed by the relevant government officials.
Considerations while creating a will
Key considerations while writing a will
- Have a lawyer and a doctor as the two witnesses, if at all possible. A physician’s signature on a will removes any doubt about your competency. The attorney will review the will and ensure that you don’t make any silly mistakes when writing and signing it.
- Under the terms of your Will, neither the attesting witness nor his or her spouse should be beneficiaries. This could give rise to vested interests and occasionally render your will void. Moreover, check that the witnesses are not too old and younger than you, as your will might be in force for a while! And you desire that they stay in this world.
- Compose your will on thick, high-quality white paper to prevent it from deteriorating over time. It ought to be kept in a flat, full-size plastic envelope.
- Keep in mind that the original will should be stored separately from any additional copies you decide to keep. The will must be kept in a safe deposit box at your bank. Also, you must let your next of kin know where you have kept your will. Make a limited number of copies of your will.
- Hindus should make it clear whether or not the property is inherited because it makes a big impact as no ancestor’s property can be bequeathed to anyone through a will. On inherited property, birth confers all rights. So, you cannot specify in your will that you want to give a piece of property that you got from your father to only individual X! All of your lawful heirs will receive it because it is “Inherited.”
- A will must always be dated, and if more than one is created, the will with the most recent date supersedes all others. In reality, there ought to be language in your will declaring that all earlier wills are invalid. To prevent fraud, the pages ought to be numbered.
- Because the value of assets might change over time, it is preferable to express how much each recipient will get as a percentage rather than in absolute terms. Unless it is cash in hand.
Understanding this article will be of great impact for you and your family. You have understood about all the elements necessary to build a well and sound financial wall for yourself. I hope you enjoyed this article.
If you have learnt anything from this or any article of our series, I consider my efforts to be fruitful. Do work on these topics and strive to be as financially secured as possible.