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How to create a Will?

25 January 2022
5 minutes

While you might create assets and investments and leave behind a legacy for your loved ones, not specifying the beneficiaries in black and white might cause confusion. It might become difficult for the family to claim property, investments, money in bank accounts and other financials after the demise of a member.  That is why it is important to create a Will. Having a Will becomes even more important if you don’t want your legal heirs to inherit your assets, but want to bequeath them to someone else. 

What is a Will?

A Will is a legally acceptable document that underlines the division of your assets post your demise. It contains your wishes as to how you want your assets including property, cash, ornaments, policies, stock and mutual fund investments to be distributed among the surviving members of your family. You can even leave behind assets for individuals and institutions that do not fall under the purview of family.

Why should you create a Will?

The reason why a Will should be drafted when you are alive is as follows –

  • It ensures that your property is divided as per your wishes
  • It prevents disputes between your family members regarding how the property should be divided
  • It can help you plan a legacy for each member of the family

How to create a Will?

Creating a Will is a simple affair. You can yourself write your wishes on a piece of paper and sign it. Attach the signatures of two witnesses and the Will would be created. It would also be legally valid unless nobody contests the wishes stated therein.

Here are the major components of creating a proper Will – 

Drafting the Will

This is the first step in creating your Will. You would have to specify your assets and their allocation when you draft the will. You would be called the Testator as you are the one writing the Will. You can write the Will in your own handwriting or you can print it. You can use a simple piece of paper or Stamp paper if you like. There is no mandatory requirement about drafting the Will. You can draft it in any manner possible and also in any language. 

Signing it

After you have drafted the whole Will, you would have to sign it at the end. Your signature establishes the authenticity of the Will and should be done clearly and legibly. Also, the signature should be placed at the end of the Will. It signifies that the Will has been completed. Any text appearing after your signature would be invalid and won’t be considered legally binding.

Witnesses to the Will

There should be two independent witnesses to the Will. The signature of each witness would be needed for making the Will legally valid. The witness should not be a beneficiary mentioned in the Will as it might create a conflict of interest and lay down grounds for a possible dispute. 

Storing the Will

Once the Will is drafted, signed and witnessed, you should store it in a safe place so that it doesn’t get damaged or soiled. You can store the Will in a locker or give it to a lawyer or a named executor (an individual who would execute the Will after your demise) for safekeeping. 

Factors to consider when drafting a Will

While drafting a Will is quite simple and easy, here are a few things that you should keep in mind –

  • List down all the assets that you own in clear lines. Also, mention the beneficiaries against each asset that you list. In the case of multiple beneficiaries, list the division of each in clear words.
  • If you are printing the Will, do not make any handwritten notes as they would raise an overall question on the Will.
  • Try to write your Will in as unambiguous manner as possible. If you find it challenging, enlist the help of a lawyer who can help you draft the perfect Will to avoid future disputes and legal battles.
  • Appoint an executor to the Will, i.e., a person who would be tasked with the execution of the Will when you are not around. The executor can be any individual but having a lawyer act as an executor would be a better bet.
  • Registration of the Will is not mandatory. However, a registered Will has better legal authenticity. You can, thus, get your Will registered at the nearest sub-registrar office. No charge is levied for registration of the Will.
  • A codicil is like an addendum to the Will which records any changes that you might have made after drafting the original document. You can make changes to your Will through a codicil made on a separate paper and attach it to your original Will.
  • Always date your Will.
  • Inform your loved ones of your Will. They should know that it has been drafted and also where it has been stored so that they can access it when you are not around. 
  • You can opt for probate of the Will. Probate is the copy of the Will which is certified by the seal of the court. The executor of the Will files for probate in a court after your demise. It takes a few years for the court to grant the probate and it involves legal fees and other charges. Probate of the will is not compulsory in all other cases. However, it is better that you do get one. If the validity of the will is questioned in the courts later, the probate will come in handy.

The bottom line

While the thought of creating a Will might feel morbid, it is a prudent step to ensure a judicious division of your assets among your family. So, create your Will and review it regularly for making any changes if needed.

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