Raj Narayan Singh was an icon. A man with humble beginnings, he worked hard to rise to a position of influence. He had a large happy family, a prominent social status and a solid reputation in the industry. He was constantly busy in fulfilling his duties towards each.
But God has strange ways. Raj Narayan suffered a heart attack and passed away immediately. All his dreams came unfolded. His 2 sons started to spar over dividing the family business and the personal estate of Raj Narayan. Raj Narayan’s younger brother too is claiming a share.All the dirty linen is being washed in full public view.
Unfortunately, Raj Narayan had left no document to ensure that after his demise the assets are passed on to the family members in a peaceful way and love in the family persists. The court cases have been filed and the battle seems to be a long one.
Does this read like a scene from a movie?
Well, it is not. It is the reality.
Let me ask you.
Isn’t it quite common to see families sparring over who gets what part of the property, funds, gold and cash?
I have seen so many. And in all the cases, the issue is the absence of a simple document.
For the good of your children, your spouse and the rest of the family, you need do take a small step and ensure that all the love is not lost on the altar of ‘property division’.
That small step is making a WILL.
A WILL ensures a clear path towards future distribution and ownership of your assets to the rightful members.
When you make a WILL, you specify what goes to whom and when. This one simple step can help preserve the family bonds. It’s not a guarantee but a powerful step.
Unfortunately, too many myths persist about making a WILL.
Myths about WILL
- Only the RICH make a WILL. No, it is not the RICH only that make a WILL. As you would notice, anyone and everyone can and should have a WILL.
- I have done the nominations so nothing else is required. FALSE. A nomination only makes the person a custodian of the asset, not the beneficiary. The WILL clearly defines who can be the beneficiary. You may appoint your wife has a 100% nominee of the asset, however, in the absence of a WILL, the asset can be distributed equally between your children and spouse.
- WILL making is a complex and expensive legal process. INCORRECT. There are several ready drafts of WILL DEEDS that you can use. If there is no complication of ownership of assets, a simple 2 page will deed on plain paper is enough. Even registration is not mandatory, though it is advisable and is very cheap.
A WILL can be used quite effectively. It has many more uses than just telling who gets what share of the estate.
For example, if you have a child who has special needs, the WILL can be used to protect the child’s future and ensure that she/he continues to be taken care of under an able guardian.
Another example, if you have a philanthropic bent of mind, you may want to ensure that a part or all of your assets/wealth are used for such purposes – one time or ongoing.
What should the WILL contain?
Now to ensure that a WILL fulfils the required purpose, it needs to follow certain norms to make it watertight and enforceable.
If you are making a WILL for yourself, the document should:
- Clearly state all your details of the person making the Will such as Name, Age, Religion, Address etc.
- Have a declaration that the present Will is the last Will made by you and all other earlier Wills are invalid.
- Clear information about the beneficiaries and what is their relationship with you as well as what assets will be given in what proportion to which beneficiary. (You can include any and every asset including your digital identities such as Gmail, Facebook accounts, etc.)
- Have specific clauses which will make a specific beneficiary eligible or non-eligible to inherit the share of the assets and conditions, qualifications for the same.
- Mention about the Will to take effect after the death and if necessary, also mention about who will be responsible for the execution of the Will.
- Should be attested by minimum two persons as witnesses who shall put their signatures in your presence and you should sign the Will in the presence of the witnesses. Please note that the beneficiaries cannot be the witness.
In case of jointly owned assets, it is ideal to have separate wills for each of the joint owners. This eliminates the need to redo the WILL in case of a demise of any one individual.
Remember, you can revise your WILL any number of times.
How to make a WILL?
As mentioned before, you will find several reasonably good drafts online that you can use to create your own simple WILL.
In recent times, online WILL making services have also come up. Some of them are:
- EzeeWill by NSDL and Warmond Advisors – http://www.ezeewill.com/
- MyWill by SBICaps Trustee – https://sbicaptrustee.in/mywill/index.jsp
- Will Jini – http://www.willjini.com
They offer various services based on how simple or comprehensive your requirement is.
However, if your have more than a general set of requirements, don’t hesitate to hire an attorney. It will be worth it.
So, what happens if you don’t make a WILL?
Legal Disputes, delay in assets distribution, additional costs, loss of mental piece. Not to mention, things will not be done in a way you would have wanted. There can be claimants who you never wanted to give anything to, depriving the ones who needed your assets the most.
Well, you can avoid that situation for your loved ones. Make your WILL now.
Note: The online will providers are mentioned only for information and are not recommendations.