Drafting a will - the most important stage of your financial planning journey
Making a will is of the utmost importance when looking to streamline your financial planning for the future. It helps you distribute wealth equitably as per your wishes, amongst your near and dear ones.
Writing a Will is arguably the most essential stage in your entire journey, towards suitable financial planning for your family members and loved ones. Drafting a Will becomes all the more essential, when you consider things like future security of your loved ones, who should be able to gain access to their inheritance. It also ensures future family bonding and your peace of mind, about completion of your wealth planning.
Wills and all about them
A Will is basically an official written document which notifies the wishes of the individual for distribution of his/ her accumulated assets and wealth, to the members of his/ her family, charitable organizations, relatives, friends and so on. Writing a Will is a prerequisite for the legal transfer of wealth after the death of any individual. A Will is legally acceptable as a succession document for wealth in all Indian courts of law, as well as globally.
While you can get down to making a Will yourself , it has to be signed when two witnesses are present, with the exception of privileged wills by soldiers at the war front. Additionally, an individual can create a will any number of times. However, only the latest Will signed & witnessed shall be regarded as the final Will for asset transfers, and all previous Wills are regarded as cancelled in the eyes of the law.
Reasons to create a will
There are quite a few reasons that you should take into account, when it comes to creating a Will. These include the following:
- It ensures distribution of wealth as per the wishes of the individual
- It is imperative even for single assets like a bank account, home, FD, demat account or life insurance policy, along with other investments
- A Will helps in bypassing intervention of the court with regards to deciding on legal succession and asset transfer upon death of an individual, along with other delays, issues and costs involved in the process
- Nomination or Joint Holdings cannot ensure smooth succession, since nominees or joint holders cannot claim any ownership of one’s wealth as the rightful legal heirs, and are only trustees
- Separate Wills are required for joint holders in assets, based on the holding ratio
- A Will helps in steering clear of any disputes over wealth distribution in the family and legal proceedings
- Inheritance taxes are not imposed in India, and several NRIs who have assets in India should certainly have a Will for their Indian assets, for the purpose of saving inheritance taxes in the country of their residence
How to prepare a will?
Wills can be handwritten or typed on paper clearly, and should be signed by the creator of the Will amidst two witnesses.
The document must contain the following:
- Full information on spouse, self, children and living parents
- Few legal declarations about mental fitness and effective date of the Will
- Details on all jointly held/ single properties
- Names of the two witnesses
- Wishes in terms of wealth distribution
One can take the help of legal professionals/ advisors/ online will firms, for clarity while drafting a will.
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