Breaking 5 Myths About Will Drafting

Anita, an IT employee, lives with her family in a suburb of Bangalore in a two-bedroom apartment, bequeathed to her by her parents. Her brother Raj, who is single, owns a small farm, which he inherited from his parents, and lives there on the outskirts of the city. Their father was employed with a bank in Bangalore, while the mom was a homemaker. When they were in their ‘30s, the parents drafted a joint will to distribute all their property - movable (e.g., cash, bank accounts, insurance, vehicle, furniture, etc.) as well as immovable (flat, land, etc.) between the two children, after their lifetime. The will clearly indicated who should get the parental wealth and how much. As a result, their properties, assets and wealth passed smoothly into the hands of their children, without any hassles.

What if the parents hadn’t cared to leave behind a will? Probably, Anita and Raj, in the above example, would have partitioned all the properties, assets and wealth in a cordial manner. We can always wish for a happy settlement, and we most certainly should. But in today’s practical world, most often, that is not the case. Acrimonious disputes over property and wealth involving family members is common, which hurts family ties and affects emotional bonds.

What is the potential cost of NOT drafting a will in one’s lifetime? Where a person dies without a will, her/ his legal heirs need to obtain a ‘Succession Certificate’ or Letter of Administration from a court. In case of such unwilled succession, the court will decide who the legal heirs are, and in what proportion they will receive the property and assets. This process takes about 6 to 12 months, and the cost in terms of court fees and legal expenses could run into lacs.

Nowadays people in their ‘30s and ‘40s are writing a will to smooth the process of inheritance for their near and dear ones. All it takes is a few minutes to draft your own will, but still a lot of people fail to do so in their lifetime. One reason for that is, there are some myths around creating a will, which are 100% incorrect (nevertheless fairly popular, like all myths are), even among educated people.

Only the rich (high net-worth individuals) make a will. I am not so rich, why would I need a will? Every individual aged 18 or above who has even a single property must write a last will template in order to distribute such wealth as per his/ her wishes.
I have made nominations, and joint holdings in respect of my property and wealth, and this is as good as a will. A nominee is not a legal heir. He/ she is simply a trustee of the wealth, who can collect the wealth on behalf of the legal heirs, and act as the custodian of the wealth. Holding property in joint names means each joint holder is proportionate owner of his/her share. Each joint holder has to write will of his/her proportionate share in joint assets.
I would like to make a will, but it’s too tedious a process. First, I must get the will typewritten on stamp paper, then register it in a court, or get it attested by a notary. Not really. Visiting a court, registration office, attestation by a notary – all these things are NOT mandatory in order to make a legal will draft. As per Indian law, a will can be made on plain paper and signed at any place, in the presence of any two witnesses. And this is considered a legal will in India. Nowadays, drafting a will via reliable online will writing company is option for all Indians residing in India or abroad (NRIs).
The best time to make a will is in my old age. We all know that death is uncertain. If a person thinks age is a factor in will making, then the age at which he/ she accumulates some wealth is the best time to make a will. And typically, people accumulate wealth in their ‘30s and ‘40s. The will should be revised periodically, preferably every 3-5 years, to reflect various changes.
I need to take help from a lawyer to make a legal will draft. So long as the language of the will is simple, straightforward, and clear, it doesn’t matter who is drafting the will – self, lawyer, or through reliable online will writing companies.

Will preparation is not about moving mountains; it’s simple, hassle-free, fast and affordable. Do write to us for more details or help on how to prepare a will and why there is such an importance of a will in India.

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