Money is crucial for survival and it will be crucial for your loved ones too even when you are not there. But it is not necessary that your wealth will get passed to your loved ones automatically unless you have willed so. That is the reason it is important to make a will during your lifetime. Read on to understand the basic and simple process of making a will.
WORDS: SANGEETA SINHA
Before we understand the basic process of making a will, let us first know what will happen if we do not leave a will behind for our family and loved ones. Nothing gets transferred automatically. Even to your spouse who may not get the wealth if you have not willed so.
In order to regulate your assets and property after death, it is always advisable to leave a will, irrespective of your religion. A ‘will’ is an intent of a person as to what he/she has decided should be done with properties, movable or immovable, after that person’s death.
A will is a legal document that clearly sets out your wishes for how your assets or property are to be distributed after your death. Having a clear, legally valid and up-to-date will is the best way to help ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.
Making a will
Anybody can make a will at any time, provided the person is above 18 years and is of sound mind. You can will all your assets and property provided you have complete ownership. All you need is a piece of paper where you write your will.
You will need to sign the will or put your thumb impression in the presence of two witnesses. Both the witnesses also need to sign or put a thumb impression in your presence. Anyone can be a witness to your will – including the executor.
Now who is an executor? An executor is the person whom you assign the duty of carrying out your instructions after your death. Anybody above 18 years with a sound mind can be your executor.
However, if you have missed appointing an executor in your will, the court will appoint an administrator to execute your will. In case the executor appointed by you is incapable of carrying out the execution or is incapable of carrying out the job, in that scenario also the court will appoint an administrator.
Once your will is ready with signatures it becomes a valid legal document and getting it registered is not mandatory. However, if you wish to get it registered, do it personally or through an authorised agent. You will need to present the will before the registrar for its registration.
Generally, you do not have to pay stamp duty on wills but you will have to pay registration fees; the fees and procedure are different for different states.
The registration of a will does not fall under the category of compulsorily registrable document, says Pratap Shankar, an advocate of the Supreme Court of India and co-founder and partner of New Delhi based law firm Legal Consultus, our expert.
However, it is always advisable to have the will registered for many reasons; firstly, it vindicates the intention of the person, who is making the will, which may be taken into
account in case dispute lands up in the court of law. And secondly, in case the original will is lost, probate may easily be obtained of a certified copy of the same, he adds.
A will can be changed as many times during a life time as you desire even if it has been registered. For making changes in a registered will you may apply directly or through an agent to the registrar.
Ideally, if you are making substantive changes to a will in
order to convey your wishes properly, you should execute a codicil, which is a written statement that supplements or modifies an existing will. It must be executed in the same manner as that of the original will. And lastly if you want to cancel your will you have that option too. Make another will or destroy the earlier will.
So go ahead and make your will and of course if you wish you can always withdraw or change it anytime you wish.