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What is a will? Why is it necessary and how to make it? Research Team | Posted On Wednesday, June 18,2014, 04:45 PM

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What is a will? Why is it necessary and how to make it?



Fights over property and assets between family members and relatives is common in India. These fights result in long battles in court (litigation) which take years tresolve rendering the making of a will necessary.

What is a will?

Will is a document in which you state how you wish tdistribute your assets and property tyour heirs (beneficiaries) after your death. The will can be enforced only after your death.You need tappoint an executor (person whsees that the assets are distributed as per your wish) as you are not around tdit yourself.
You can will only what you legally own tyour heirs (children).You can will only the wealth and assets you have earned in your lifetime tyour heirs. (If your dad has willed you his property it automatically passes tyour children).
You cannot merely state “ I will” .You need tmention “what you will “ such as a land or a property.

Why is it necessary to make a will?

If you die intestate (without making a will) you have ncontrol on whinherits your property (it can gtsomeone you don’t like).If you die without making a will then the state decides how tdivide your property as per the laws of the country.

  • Hindu succession act 1956 (If you are a Hindu)
  • Indian succession act 1925 (If you are a Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, or a Jain)
  • Muslim personal laws (If you are a Muslim).

Fights among family members leads tproperty going tsomeone outside the family. (Some elderly people give their wealth tsomeone whis close tthem in their last years).Fights among siblings for the control of business assets (factories and property) of their parents after they pass away.

Who can make a will?

If you are over 18 years of age and of sound mind then you can make a will.

How to make a will?

  • A will can be typed or handwritten on plain paper. It does not have tbe written on stamp paper or any legal paper. You need tstate that you are the maker of the will (testator) , make a list of your assets and state how you would like your assets tbe distributed.
  • The will should be legible and written in simple English. There should not be any technical terms (jargon) used in the will. You need tmention clearly twhom and how much you will. You cannot say all my cash is left tmy son. You need tmention the amount (say INR 25 Lakhs).
  • Avoid using words which have more than one meaning as well as nicknames.
  • You need tsign every page of the will and mention the number of pages in the will. The will needs tbe signed by at least 2 witnesses.
  • You need tmention that the will is not made by force or under pressure and you are of sound state of mind preferably witnessed and attested by a doctor.
  • You can make changes in the will called (codicil) any number of times as long as you are alive. The will you make last is the true will. The earlier wills are automatically revoked.
  • You need tappoint an executor (a trusted person) whexecutes the will on your behalf after your death. It could be your lawyer or a doctor as long as he is not the beneficiary of the will.
  • You need tupdate the will whenever there is a new addition in your family otherwise your newly born grandchild might not get your gold bangles.

What is a probate?

The legality of the will needs tbe proved in a court of law called a probate. After a probate the will cannot be contested by (those whare left out of it) that you were of unsound mind when the will was made.

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