People tend to plan all their financial investments in detail. They carefully plan insurance plans, monthly SIP’s, retirement benefits, contingency plan etc., and make sure that their family is well provided for in difficult situations. One of the most important things is that they miss out on creating a will. Most people think that they are too young to make a will and it is not a priority. Some think that a will is to be made only by rich people, who have plenty of assets and middle-class people should not bother about it. In reality, a will is needed for anyone who has assets that need to be distributed to different people after the death of the person. In this article, we talk about How to Write a Will Without a Lawyer.
So what is a will?. As per the law, a will is a document that states how the wealth of the person gets distributed after the demise of the person. The person making the will is called as the testator while the people getting a share in the assets are called as beneficiaries. Any Indian person above the age of 18 years and with a sound mind can make a will.
All your efforts of creating wealth will lose its value if it is not distributed according to your wish. Though there are families wherein the assets are distributed amicably, it will still require legal expenditure to get the assets transferred legally to them, while in the worst case scenario which happens most of the time, it leads to disputes and long drawn legal battles.The good part about a will is that a will can be easily done without much trouble.
How to Write a Will Without a Lawyer
- Make a list of all your assets.
- Decide the proportion of who gets what. Clearly, mention the ownership after the demise. Be very specific in giving instructions. For e.g., If you have fixed deposits then give the FD serial numbers for identification or in the case of gold jewellery, clearly describe the jewellery item. In case of shares and other things give a percentage of ownership instead of an absolute figure. For e.g., if you own 500 shares of SBI, you can say 40% goes to one beneficiary and remaining to other. This is due to the fact that your portfolio may constantly increase or decrease and so it is not advisable to mention a specific value. The details of the documentation, like where it is kept should also be mentioned for better clarity.
- Type it on a stamp paper and get two witnesses (who are not a part of the will) to sign. If you are a senior citizen then it is better to have your family doctor as one of the witnesses as it will reduce the chances of the will being contested by using the reasoning of an unsound mind.
- Mention the date, location and sign it. Signing the will authenticates it. You need to sign on each and every page of the will.
- Though it is not mandatory to register the will or get it done on stamp paper, it is advised to get the will registered. You can get the help of a lawyer to draft the will in order to make things clear and also to get it legally binding. The registration of the will is done at the registrar or sub-registrar office. A copy of the will is kept at the registrar office and it will be released to the authorized person after the demise of the testator.
- A declaration has to be made with the name and the address of the testator. You have to make a declaration, that you (testator) are writing the will without any pressure or influence and have a sound mind.
- Identify the executors and mention their names and addresses in the will. An executor is the one who manages the distribution of the assets after the demise of the testator. You can have one or more executors in your will. Take their permission before mentioning their names in the will.
- Any will, including a registered will, can be challenged by the heirs if they are unhappy about the distribution. In such a case only the court can certify whether the will is authentic. The certified copy of the will is called as the probate. The court sends a notification to all the legal heirs and also in leading newspapers to find out if anyone has any objections to the will. They need to come forward and place it before the court for a specified period of time. After thoroughly checking the authenticity of the claims, the court will grant a probate.
- In case a person dies without leaving a will (intestate), then they are governed according to the specific act of the religion they follow, like the Hindu succession act, Muslim Personal law and others fall under Indian succession act.
- You can make a will any number of times but just ensure that the earlier wills are destroyed.
- Count and mention the number the pages you are signing so that no pages are fraudulently inserted, replaced or deleted.
- Keep the will in a safe place like a locker or in your personal vault.
- Under the law, the nominee is considered as the caretaker of the assets and not the owner. However in the case of shares i.e., a demat account, the joint holder automatically becomes the owner of the shares. In the absence of a joint holder, the nominee becomes the owner of the shares. Therefore it is of utmost importance to properly select joint holders and nominees.
These are some of the important points which will help you in drafting an appropriate will which will be valid under the law. It would be good to advise any senior citizen, retired person and also soldiers in the army, navy and air force to get their wills done. This simple act can save a lot of trouble for your loved ones in the future.
Hope you enjoyed this article How to Write a Will Without a Lawyer.
Please read our earlier article Financial Planning For Women
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