Making a will is not mandatory in India; it’s optional. While no one is forcing us to leave behind a will, there are more than enough reasons why we should. The key is the need to prevent a possible squabble among family members over your estate, and to prevent avoidable disputes. It would be quite worthwhile, if everyone above the age of 18 with even a single property understands the importance of writing a will.
In practice, a significant number of people seem to shrug off the idea of creating a will for obvious, yet varied reasons. The lamest excuse we have come across so far is -
"If I make a will thinking about my death, that might invite my early death."
The obvious response to such people caught up in existential questions is, “By any chance, do you have a life insurance policy? When buying a life insurance policy, what eventually were you hoping to cover?”
A large majority of people are prompted to take out an insurance policy because, in the event of their death, the family has at least some insurance money to fall back on. The apparent discrepancy here, is that young people feel it’s all right, if a few thoughts about death cross their mind while buying life insurance. But these same people seem to think otherwise, when prompted to make their own will. This probably comes from a wrong notion that a Will is the last thing a person does in their lifetime.
An associated idea is that the terms of the will are prepared by the family lawyer, who reads it aloud to the testator on the deathbed, and gets her/ him to sign it for approval. Nothing can be further from the truth in today’s scenario. A will is basically a declaration that one makes in the presence of at least two witnesses, which ensures their assets (including movable assets) and properties are distributed as per their wishes to their legal heirs, after their demise. It is a document that spells out whom to give your assets and properties to, and how much of it.
The witnesses could be any two or more persons, who do NOT stand to benefit as per the terms of the will. In popular movies, witnesses are often doctors or lawyers. What’s contrasting is that, in the real world we live in, a witness to a will can be any two persons who do not have any financial interests in the proceeds of the will.
A will can be handwritten or typewritten in any language. Under Indian law, a will on a plain paper witnessed by two persons is 100% legal. Strictly speaking, the law does NOT require you to visit a court or any government office for will registration. It is also NOT mandatory to get the will attested by a notary, either.
In order to keep your will clear and unambiguous, you can take help from a lawyer to draft your will. Or, you can contact a reliable online will writing service provider and take their guidance, during the process of writing a will. It is not only time saving, but also affordable.
Here’s another excuse about drafting wills that’s doing the rounds –
"Even if I make a will, my dependants might need a probate from a court, which is full of hassles!"
If the value of the assets is not so high, agencies like banks, societies, depositories will NOT insist on a probate from a court, certifying that it is a valid and legal will in India.
Now here comes probably the biggest challenge regarding NOT drafting your own will - Imagine a scenario where a person has died, without creating a will. In this case, the successors have a number of challenges to deal with, before they can hope to inherit the wealth and assets of the decedent.
Do get in touch with us for more tips on how to prepare a will that will stand up to any legal scrutiny, make wealth distribution smooth, and strengthen family bonding.
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