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Monday, August 8, 2011

Where is the willingness to write a WILL?

The main purpose of starting this thread is to enlighten our friends about the importance of making a WILL. the whys and hows of it.

Normally a WILL is written only when one becomes old thinking that only old people die. It’s not so.

In one of the cases I know the husband died in an accident when he was just in mid forties. His wife did not know anything about his investments, shares and finance. We can’t blame her because the husband kept her in dark by keeping everything close to his chest. It took a lot of time to find out get the settlements and fortunately she had the help of her father. Death is inevitable and no one can predict death.

Time and Tide wait for none.

Death and disaster tell no one!

With so many accidental deaths and unnatural deaths like terrorists attack, bomb blasts, natural calamities etc on the peril, it’s wise to be cautious and so writing a WILL irrespective of the age or stage is essential for any person with property.

With the booming economy and with the younger generations increasing buying power, it’s advisable for all to spare some time to write a WILL. The beneficiaries can be modified after the change in the marital status.

is a legal document to be written by the living person giving instructions about his movable and immovable assets to the heir and others as per his/ her wish.

Though there are many types of wills, let’s see only the common will for a common person.

Never give off your property during your lifetime. And for reasons known, do not reveal the contents of the Will to anyone.

A wise person writes a Will so that his legal heirs do not run from pillar to post to claim their right in his property; no one would want his children to spend much on lawyers and cases.

A majority of people think a Will is only for the old, it’s not so .Anybody over the age of 18, with sound mental health can write a Will. A person who has acquired the property by inheritance or acquired a property on his own should make a Will so that it goes to the right hands after his/ her death. Otherwise it may be distributed as per the law and if no heir is there to inherit, the govt may claim the property.

Writing a Will clears the family members of their doubts and they can live in peace after the demise of the person who writes the Will.

How can we forget what happened with the Ambanis after the death of Dhirubhai Ambani? When it can happen to big wealthy people, there is equal chance of it happening in everyone’s life.
In some cases if there is no beneficiary as the head of the family gets frustrated the way his children treats him, may write the property to a charity, sometimes it goes to the relatives outside his family.

A living person has to specify the details of his movable and immovable property, and investments, gold, silver articles, precious paintings, art and other minute details while listing them in the will. In fact even his USB, drive, his mail account, his music DVDs,CDs etc can also be included.

A Will becomes enforceable only after the death of the person who has made the Will.

One has the mandatory share in the ancestral property as it is inherited, but one’s self-acquired property can be written in the Will.

Not necessary that the self acquired property should go to the legal heirs. They have no right to claim, and it’s as per the wish of the testator [the one who writes the Will and after his death] that the property will be distributed.

How to go about it:

Make it clear that one mentions in the Will that “he/ she is writing the Will with sound mental health and voluntarily and out of free will, with no coercion or under pressure from any one. “
Firstly the TESTATOR, [by mentioning his name, son of so and so…, living in …..the residential address] has to give a list of items specifying all his properties, -movable and immovable (houses, flats, farmhouses, shopping complexes etc apart from the fleet of vehicles, fixed deposits, shares and investments in Banks, post offices, mutual funds etc. )

He should make it clear about the ratio proportion to be distributed among his children/ relatives or friends or well wishers.

He should write clearly in a simple language where everyone can understand, it’s better to avoid technical terms.

The description of the property needs to be mentioned clearly. [E.g., if it’s a house specify the location, door number, and the sale deed details, surrounded by ,,… on all sides and the description of the property or the buildings, road etc apart from the area in sq ft of the house]

When the beneficiary is mentioned, to make his /her identity clear his/ her full name, son of / daughter of, /wife of/ husband of/ etc needs to be clearly specified in relation to the Testator. In case of a minor, nominating a custodian to be the guardian till he/she becomes a major is essential. He should nominate a custodian who would discharge his duties impartially without any selfish motive who would also not benefit from the minor.

It’s quite common nowadays to see the whole family perishing in accidents of various nature. In case of all the members of the family dying an unnatural death due to accident of any kind, there should also be a provision for who should inherit the property like close relatives, friends or for charity.

One can make revisions later or preferably destroy the previous Will and make a fresh one

It’s advisable to get the family physician and lawyer to be the witnesses and if no lawyer is available, a trusted family friend who is not older, can be the witness. Remember none of the witnesses should be the beneficiaries of the Will. Even the Testator’s wife can be a witness. Date and place need to be mentioned at the end of the Will where two witnesses would also sign .They have to sign in each and every numbered pages of the Will along with the Testator’s signature.

The Testator has to sign with date on the envelope after sealing it.
An executor of the Will is required only when the property is huge and complicated. An executor can be a trusted friend, family friend, neighbors, distant relative who has no vested interest in the property. The entire procedure can be video graphed with the advancement in the technology. The placement and whereabouts of the Will need to be known to the Executor/s. Keep a copy of the Will in the bank safe deposit vault.

[From the layman's point of view , a simple way, people can take the help of experts]

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