Succession Planning: What Is a Will, Terms Related to It, and How to Make It?

Succession Planning: What Is a Will, Terms Related to It, and How to Make It?


As per Indian succession laws, on the death of an individual, their assets are distributed among the legal heirs. The legal heirs are categorised into various classes and are listed in the sequence in which they can claim the assets. However, what if you want to distribute your assets to other people along with your legal heirs?

Also, what if you want to define each beneficiary's share in a manner different from what is mentioned in the succession laws? To take care of these requirements, you can make a will. In this article, we will understand what a will is, some related terms, and how to make a will.

What Is Will Document?

A will is a document that declares the intent of how an owner's assets will be distributed among the intended beneficiaries after the owner's demise. The person who makes the will document is known as a testator. A will details the list of all assets, the beneficiaries for each asset, and each beneficiary's share in each asset.

The owner appoints an executor who goes ahead with the distribution of the assets, as mentioned in the will, after the owner’s demise. It is recommended that you appoint an executor whom you trust. Usually, the will is signed by two witnesses. It is recommended that witnesses shouldn’t be the beneficiaries mentioned in the will.

A will is always dated. It can be modified any number of times. The latest dated will supersedes the earlier written will(s). There is no specified format for a will. It can be handwritten or typed and printed.

As per Indian laws, a will can be made by any Indian citizen. The person must be of 18 years or above, and should be of sound mind at the time of making the will. As per law, it is not mandatory to register a will. Infact, it doesn't even need to be made on stamp paper or notarised. However, do note that registering a will increases its legal validity and authenticity. Will registration can be done at the local sub-registrar's office.

Content of a Will Document

The will should have the following contents:

1) Date

It is essential to mention the date of making the will. The latest dated will makes all the earlier wills invalid.

2) Personal Details of the Testator

The testator should mention their full name, age, address, etc., in the will.

3) Declaration

The testator must declare that they are making the will in a sound state of mind. They should mention that they are not making the will under any pressure or influence of anyone.

4) Asset Details

The will should list out all the assets and their details. For example, when mentioning about mutual funds, it should mention details like the name of the AMC, folio number, scheme names, etc. Similarly, for a bank fixed deposit, it should mention details like bank name, branch, fixed deposit account number, etc.

5) How Will the Assets Be Divided?

The next section should mention details of how each asset should be divided among the beneficiaries (if there are more than one). The percentage share of each beneficiary in each asset should be mentioned so that each beneficiary is clear about what they will get and how much of it.

6) Executor

The will should mention the details of the executor, like their name, age, address, etc.

7) Witness

Finally, the will should be signed by two witnesses (who are not the beneficiaries of the will). The testator should sign the will in the presence of witnesses. There is no need to show the will details to the witnesses.

What Is the Importance of Will ?

Here are the importance of making a will - 

1) Fulfilment of Asset Owner’s Wish

A will helps fulfil the asset owner's last wish in terms of how the assets should be distributed after their passing away. The owner will be satisfied that their assets will be passed smoothly to the intended beneficiaries.

2) Avoids Family Disputes

A will clearly defines who will get what and how much of it. Thus, it helps in avoiding disputes among family members. It is commonly observed that legal heirs fight amongst themselves over the deceased person’s assets in the absence of a will. It ends up breaking family relations. All this can be avoided by having a proper will in place.

3) Avoids Financial Costs

Usually, in the absence of a will, there is a dispute among the family members over the deceased person's assets. The matter ends up being in a Court. With crores of cases pending in the courts, getting justice will be time-consuming and costly. A proper will can help avoid these financial costs.

Ensure Your Assets Reach the Intended Beneficiaries With a Will

Now that you understand what a will document is, concepts related to it, and its contents, you can make your own will. You can check the sample formats of a will online. There are a lot of online apps/websites that can help you make a will online. You can even contact a lawyer to get a will drafted for yourself.

You have worked hard to build your assets during your lifetime. You would like to pass them on to your intended beneficiaries after your passing away. A will can help you accomplish this objective. Once you make a will, appoint the beneficiaries as nominees for the respective assets. It will make the transfer of assets smooth.

 

Will Document What Is Will Importance of Will

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