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How to make a will

Any individual who have attained the age of 18 years and mentally sounds in the eyes of law and possess assets/insurance policies must write his/her WILL.

November 10, 2011 / 06:27 PM IST

By Umesh Rathi, CFPcm, ARIHANT capital markets

Any individual who have attained the age of 18 years and mentally sounds in the eyes of law and possess assets/insurance policies must write his/her WILL.

In spite of writing the WILL you have complete control and rights over the assets in your lifetime and only after your death your successor can enter in your shoes and not earlier. Moreover, you can change the WILL, number of times as only the last WILL will be effective.

By writing the Will you can save your successors from the legal hardship and post disruptions in the family, as you are at liberty to distribute the assets amongst the beneficiary according to your wish and the ratio you determine. You also help the beneficiary for tax benefit available under the Income Tax Act/ Wealth Tax Act.

Writing of Will: Points to Consider

1. Listing assets and liabilities:  The first step is to prepare the detailed list of all assets and liabilities which include movable-immovable property, Life Insurance policies, Accidental Insurance Policy and all sorts of Liabilities.

2. Listing successors: List that person/entity to whom you wish to make your successors with relationship.

3. Sharing of assets to successors: Decide and determine the ratio of assets to be given to respective successors.

4. Tax planning for successors: Your successors are your kith and kin beloved one and you will certainly wish that they should not be burdened with any unnecessary financial burden by way of tax. Hence it is pertinent that you should prepare your WILL keeping in mind your successor tax liability. It is advisable to take the assistance from Certified Financial Planner having expertise in estate planning or Chartered Accountant to mitigate this upcoming problem.

5. Will on simple paper: One can write the WILL on an ordinary paper also. There is no compulsion of writing the WILL on Legal or stamped paper. This can be handwritten. Only thing it should be legible and to be signed. It is always advisable that it should be typewritten to avoid any confusion.

6. Clarity: One should refrain from legal terminology or difficult words or words having two senses while writing the WILL to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation and disputes over the meaning of words in order to convey the actual intention of WILL writer.

7. Specific and proper distinction: Which asset and to whom it is to be given?  There should be proper distinction of assets and the successor with clear cut demarcation and ratio.

8. Appointment of executor:  It is not obligatory to appoint any Executor but it is advisable particularly when probate is to be obtained. In the absence of executor court may appoint the administrator to any unwilling person. One can appoint his/here near relative and trustworthy individual as Executor.  The advocates, Financial Institution, Banks also render the services of Executor.

9. Signature and witnesses: Every Page of the WIL is to be signed and authenticated properly by the Testator and witnessed by two persons who are not beneficiaries and not having interest in the WILL.

10. Registration: Though Registration of WILL is not necessary but it is advisable to register it with the sub registrar (who registers the property). This step is quite helpful to settle the unforeseen dispute and getting the duplicate copy of the WILL.

Normally you yourself can prepare the WILL and get it registered but the assistance of an advocate preferably Certified Financial Planner who will properly guide in the matter pertaining to tax planning and legal issues involved.

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first published: Sep 2, 2011 06:34 pm

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