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What is a will and why you should have one?

What is a will and why you should have one?

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A will is a legal document that exhibits the distribution of the assets of a person after their death. If an individual dies without a will their wishes may not be carried out and the heirs may have to spend their time and money on settling the dispute. A will communicates the wishes of a person clearly after the person is no longer there in this world.

Some individuals think that only wealthy persons prepare a will, but this is not the case. Even a common person having assets can prepare a will; the reason being that it makes it clear of who gets how much of the assets. The heirs get faster access to the assets without dispute and the assets can be kept away from the hands of people whom you don’t wish to distribute the wealth. You may have in your heart to contribute towards charitable causes and you can accomplish this with the will. The things that can be covered under the will are money in the bank account, bonds, securities, retirement benefits, art collection, gold, silver, insurance policies, trademarks, and intellectual property rights.

Any person who is above 18 years of age and of sound mind can write a will as per section 59 of the Indian Succession Act, of 1925. The section restrains a person from making a will during illness or when intoxicated as they may be incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions.

There is no prescribed form for the will and it can be handwritten or typed and not only on stamp paper. A will can best be prepared by the attorney but you can handwrite a will, sign it in the presence of two witnesses and get their signatures as well. Any person can be a witness to the will but it is always better to select a person who is not a beneficiary in the will and has no personal stake in it. The witness should be above 18 years of age and of sound mind.

It is optional to register a will and not mandatory. There are some benefits of registering a will. If the original copy is destroyed the certified copy is available with the registrar. It also ensures that the succession takes place according to the wishes of the testator as the destruction of the original will by interested persons will not harm the process.

A will may never need to be updated or a person may choose to update it regularly. It is always better to review the will every two to three years as there are always a number of important events happening in a family like marriage, divorce or the birth of a child. The will that would be counted as the current one is the one in existence at the time of your death.

Things that should be included in the will-

The following things should be included in the will-

The will should contain the name, age, and address of the testator which will help in identifying who is making the will and the testator should declare that he/she is of sound mind and making the will without any coercion. The details of the persons, their name, age, and address should be mentioned who would be benefitting from the will and their relation to the testator.

It is very important to mention the name of the executor who will ensure that the execution of the will is carried out according to the directions of the testator. The details of all the assets and properties should be covered in the will and in what proportion the assets have to be distributed should be clearly mentioned. The testator should sign the will in presence of two witnesses and put a date on the will.

The mistakes a person can make while making a will are not being specific about the assets; if making a new will not making declarations to revoke the previous will, not appointing a guardian for minor children, and appointing any of the interested parties in executing the will.

It is always wise to prepare a will and if written properly it will save future generations from disputes and distribute the assets and wealth according to your wishes.

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