A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, called the testator, names one or more persons (beneficiaries) to manage her/his estate and provides for the distribution of her/his property at death.
- A will can be made by anyone above 21 years of age in India.
- A will can be made on a plain paper in India.
- It is not legally necessary to make the will on stamp paper.
- It is advisable to write your will in your own hand writing, as the same can be verified later in case of any doubts raised by relatives.
- It might happen that according to the family structure and preferences, one might want to divide their wealth unequally or make a provision for a close friend or a faithful servant. This isn’t possible if they die without a will.
Even though the law related to Wills varies state to state, one rule holds true: if one doesn’t have a Last Will and Testament, the Government makes one for them. In India, in the absence of a Will (i.e. when a person dies intestate), the estates and assets of a person are devolved according to the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act.
Therefore, even though one might consider it morbid to think about death and make a Will, the importance of making one cannot be over-emphasized. The following are some essential reasons why one must make a Will in time:
- FOR FAIR DISPOSAL OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY: Making a Will allows a person to decide how and to whom his property will devolve. It is not necessary that a person would want every dependant of his to inherit the property equally. It is also not necessary that the entire property will be devolved to the next of kin. A Will helps clarifying the share of each person in the property after the death of the testator.
- FOR DIVISION OF MOVABLE PROPERTY: A Will lets a person decide how the movable property, like jewellery, car, etc. will be divided amongst the family members. This reduces wasteful litigation as no one, apart from the beneficiaries stated in the Will, can raise false claims on such property.
- TO PROTECT INTEREST IN BUSINESS: The testator, by the way of her/his Last Will ensures that the interests in business/company are passed on in a good way to the heirs and/or co-owners of the Company. In the absence of a Will, there may be series of cases against and on behalf of the legal heirs claiming shares in the business of the testator after her/his death.
- TO PROVIDE FOR CHARITY: A Will lets a person leave the world knowing that s/he has done some good for mankind. Including a provision for charity in the Will ensures that the testator lives in the hearts of the people even after her/his death.
- TO MAKE DIFFICULT TIMES LESS DIFFICULT: Death, as we know it, is painful to deal with as it is. The last thing the immediate family of the deceased wants to get into is a legal battle over the property of the deceased. A Will keeps the loved one from having to deal with bureaucracy and wasteful litigation in the time of sadness.