The above statement aptly describes the situation when a person dies without leaving a will. In the past we have seen instances of industrialists not making a will and after their death it has led to lot of mud slinging in the public owing to fight over inheritance by relatives. Hence to avoid such a situation, it is important to make a will for a peaceful life for your survivors.
Death is certain, its time is not! Especially when it comes without a warning, then only a Will made in time can salvage the situation. Hence one should in his/ her lifetime arrange his/ her affairs in such a way so that even a sudden death causes minimum discomfort to your successors.
Hence it is important to prepare the Will without delaying it. This will ensure that your assets are distributed the way you want and not otherwise.
“Where there is a will, there is a relative, Where there isn’t s a will, there is chaos”- Anonymous
So what are the important aspects of making a Will.
Execution of a Will:
Any person who has completed 18 years of age and is of sound mind can execute a will.
However a minor for whom a guardian has been appointed by a court can execute the Will only after attaining the age of 21. People normally execute their Will when they reach their fifties. However since you can change or modify the Will as many times as you want, it is advisable to prepare your Will as soon as you acquire any property whether movable or immovable and change the same as and when the circumstances change. You should not even wait to get married to write a Will. Writing of a will ensure smooth transition for your assets in the event of this unfortunate event.
You can make more than one Will to deal with separate properties, however it is always advisable to have one will in case the properties are situated in India only. It is not necessary that the Will is executed in India only. The will can be executed anywhere in the world.
People are generally under the impression that Will is required to be made on a stamp paper, but this is not the case. The legal position is that the Will is neither required to be executed on judicial stamp paper nor any stamp duty is required to be paid for a Will. The Will can be made on a simple piece of paper. Moreover it is advisable to write the Will in very simple words without using the typical legal jargons. What is required is that your intention should be clear from plain reading of the Will.
The will is required to be attested by at least two persons, one of whom preferably should be your family doctor. This will help in case any dispute arises with regard to mental condition of the person making the will. The purpose of attestation is to obtain a confirmation from the witnesses that the testator (maker of the will) has in fact signed the Will. The witnesses are not required to know the contents of the will and the testator may not disclose the contents of the Will to the witnesses. It is not necessary that all witnesses sign at the same time. The signatures of the witnesses can be obtained at different point of time. A person who is named as executor in the will can also be a witness to the will.
A Will made by a you can be changed as many times as you want. The person making the Will called testator in legal parlance can even revoke his earlier will and makes a fresh Will.
Though the Indian Registration Act does not require mandatory registration of Will, it is advisable and in your interest to get your Will registered with the office of Registrar. Registration of your Will ensures that in case of doubt or dispute with regard to the genuineness of the Will, the same gets easily resolved if the Will is registered. Moreover in case the Will is changed later on, the fact of the Will having been registered will help the court in finding our the latest wishes of the person making the Will.
A Will can be simply registered with the office of Registrar without any special process.
The Will can be handwritten or the same may be printed but the testator should put his signature or his mark on the Will to confirm that the Will is made as per his instructions and wishes.
In you do not sign the Will in the same language in which it is made, it is necessary that the contents of the Will are explained to you by someone and the person explaining the contents should also put his signature at the bottom of the Will with a statement about the Will having been interpreted to the testator. Please note that the Will can be made in any Language. However it is preferable to make the Will in the language known to the testator to make this simple.
Operation of a Will:
The instructions or directions contained in the will come into effect only after the death of the person who has executed the Will. However in case a person dies without making a will, then all the properties of the deceased will pass on to the legal heirs as per the provisions of succession law applicable to the person dying. Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs are governed by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. However there are different inheritance laws for Christians and Parsis. In case of Muslims the properties pass on to the heirs as per law interpreted based on their religious texts.
While passing on the assets to persons through Will, you can also attach some obligations with such bequeath. However the value of the obligation cannot be more than the value of the asset being bequeathed. The beneficiary has to accept the bequeath with the obligation, as he cannot opt to take the property without accepting the obligation attached with it.
A person can include all the properties in the Will which he can legally transfer during his life time. Any property which is not covered under the Will shall pass as per the law of succession applicable to the deceased. However it is advisable to have a residue clause in the Will which will take care of disposal of all the properties which are not clearly mentioned or specifically included in the Will.
A minor or a lunatic can be a beneficiary under a Will. The legal guardian of the minor or lunatic will take the property on behalf of the minor or lunatic. However a minor or lunatic can not make any Will and bequeath any property belonging to him.
It is better to appoint executor the will, in case no executors are not appointed any one of the beneficiary can act as an executor.
To summarize here, you will appreciate that making a Will is not that complicated as it is made out to be. So what are you thinking? Prepare your Will now , so that your wishes are honoured even after your death.
Source : Simpletaxindia