Contemporary human being works 24*7*365 days for some or the other activity. The major part of one’s life is spent earning a livelihood and improving one’s lifestyle. The journey of growing old is a process whereby one amasses experience, knowledge and wealth. The sour truth of growing old and dying one day can be made a journey to a sweeter end by living and leaving your estate as per your own ‘Will’. To live as per your ‘Will’ rather wishes is a subject of your own judgement, learning and values. However, leaving your estate as per your own ‘Will’ is a legal liberty that the State has bestowed upon every individual to exercise.
People simply fail or “are just too lazy” to think, plan and act upon ‘What will happen to my family after I die?’ ‘How can I restore and maintain peace when alive and after I die?’ ‘How can I secure my family financially after my death?’, etc. To avoid such situations, it is advisable that each person makes a ‘Will’. Here are some cardinal facts of the Will that one should be aware of.
The “Will must speak in clear and concrete terms” about the last wishes of the Testator (maker of the Will) regarding what property or wealth or if any property should be given to one’s spouse, parents, children, relatives, charity, etc.
The Will acts as a vocal letter of instructions to the Executor (person named or appointed in the Will for distribution of the estate of the deceased Testator). The Testator can bequeath all his properties including immovable assets like house, moveable assets like money in bank accounts, demat accounts, cash in hand, shares, bonds, financial investments and wealth like antiques, paintings, books, copyrights, patent, etc. to the beneficiaries (by whom such properties and/or wealth is supposed to be received according to the Will). The Executor must distribute it strictly in accordance with what is written in the Will, only after paying off the debts and liabilities of the Testator.
‘Is a Will a written declaration to be prepared only when the Man is on the verge of death?’ Nope! It’s rather, for a ‘person of sound mind and who is not a minor (under 18 years)’ to create future provision. A Will must be made when person is capable of understanding the consequences of making the Will and is conscious about what he/she is doing. It’s better to refrain from making a Will when in state of intoxication or extremely ill state of health. For a Will, ‘age is no barrier’. After turning 18, when you feel that you have earned enough to pass on something and/or when you feel responsible not just for yourself but also towards your family, PREPARE YOUR WILL!
In absence of a Will, the court will appoint an administrator who will distribute your property and wealth according to your religious laws. For Hindus, Jaina, Buddhist or Sikh, Hindu Succession Act will rule the distribution; for Christians and Parsi’s, Indian Succession Act will rule, etc. So why be differentiated by religion on demise, rather choose your successor/s as per their merit and your own wishes.
However, there are instances where nothing happens according to the Will as family lands up fighting legal battles. These battles can be prevented by wording and drafting it with diligence and care. Laxity in drafting the Will opens the doors of court for battles. A lax Will is a Will which may omit disclosure of some assets of the Testator, fail to appoint Executor/s, fail to revoke or cancel previous Wills, if any, is not properly signed and attested, omits some important clauses, etc. To have a reliable evidence of valid Will, it is safe to GET IT REGISTERED with the Registrar. This reduces the probability of challenging the Will on the grounds such as fraud, coercion, undue influence etc.
It is suggested that when you pen down your wishes, you may choose to take professional’s help to draft the Will in most unambiguous terms. This will give you a comfort level as a Testator for having made a Will which speaks most assertively and mindfully about your wishes and in accordance with the law.
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