Planning for the uncertain future is key to living a happy life. Death is one of the most uncertain things in life. If you have assets and property, it is important to plan how they will be distributed after your death. This is why drafting a will is so important.
A will is a legally binding document which outlines your wishes and intentions about your assets or property. You can make a will as long as you’re not a minor or are mentally sound. You can either write a will by hand or use a typewriter, but the latter is more convincing if such a situation arises. If there is no will, many complications and confusions can arise if you have multiple legal heirs.
How to make a will
Although there is no set format for wills, it is important to include certain legally necessary elements so that no one can challenge it later.
These are some things to keep in mind:
- Declare your sound mind. No will can be legally binding if otherwise. Name the executor you wish to appoint and make sure that all the previous wills and codicils are cancelled.
- It would be best if you list all assets, including property, mutual funds, money in savings accounts, fixed deposits, and other investments. Double-check to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
- Next, you need to divide your assets clearly, and state who will inherit what. To eliminate any doubt, go item-wise. If you are leaving something to a minor, mention who will be the custodian. Choose someone you trust.
- After you have completed all of the above, get two witnesses to sign the will. To certify that they are present, they will also need to sign.
- Include the date and location of the signing, as well as complete addresses and names of your witnesses. However, your witnesses do not have to read the contents.
- You and your witnesses must sign each page of the will. If you make any changes to the will, you must have your witnesses countersign it.
- Make sure to keep the will safe. Keep copies of the will in a separate place from the original. You can write your will in any language. The language must be clear and precise to convey your intention.
Important terms that go along with a will
These terms will help you understand the essence of a will.
- Testator – The person who makes the will
- Executor – A legal representative of the testator who fulfils the wishes outlined in the will after the testator’s death.
- Codicil – It is a section of the will that describes, modifies or adds to the dispositions.
- Beneficiary – The person who inherits the inheritance according to the terms of the will
- Probate – The will’s copy, certified and sealed in writing by a competent court
- Administrator – Someone who divides assets of the deceased if there is no will.
- Intestacy – This refers to the death of an individual without a will. The laws governing intestacy according to religion determine how assets will be divided.
How do I register a will?
Registering a will is a smart idea once you have drafted it. You will get a legal copy. In the event of any tampering, both the original will and the submitted one can be compared. You can also request a copy of the original will from the registrar in the event that it is lost or damaged.
You need to follow these steps in order to register a will:
- Consult a lawyer to draft your will correctly (as per the details given previously).
- Register at the office of the Sub-Registrar to make an appointment.
- You will need to check the rules of your state and pay the required registration fees.
- Visit the office of the Sub-Registrar with at least two witnesses.
- You can get the registered copy in about a week.
The process is very simple, and it is highly recommended that you get the will registration done.
What is a digital will?
A Digital will is a will that can be written, signed, and attested electronically. This is also called e-will or electronic will. It records all details in digital form, such as your assets and the beneficiaries you want to leave them to. Digital wills are not recognized by the Indian legal systems.
What happens if there’s no will?
If you die without a will in place, it is possible for your relatives to have disputes. In this case, however, religious-specific laws will apply to the division of property. This can only happen if the dispute is resolved in court.
To conclude – Making a Will
You should now be aware of the importance of making a valid will so your loved ones can know what your wishes are. A will that is written by a minor or someone with mental disabilities or who is under coercion cannot be considered valid or binding before a court. You can also list and declare your intentions about only your assets.
Keep the following guide handy to ensure that you have everything you need while creating your will format. For more information, contact a lawyer.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
1. How do you make a will for property transfer?
The executor should be named, along with your assets and properties and the beneficiaries. You and two witnesses should sign the will. The will should state that you are not a minor of sound mind and should not be forced to sign it.
2. Is it possible to make a will and not need a lawyer?
Yes, you can simply find a template of will online or format and print it. Next, create a list of all assets that you own and state clearly who will inherit what in your absence. Name the executor or the person responsible for carrying out your wishes. Sign and date the will. Two witnesses should also sign it. When everything is completed, keep the will safe.
3. Can I make a will on regular paper?
Although you can write your will on paper, make sure that you sign it. You should also get two witnesses to sign it. It would be invalid otherwise. Consult a lawyer if you’re worried about missing important details or need assistance deciding how to divide your assets.
4. Is it possible to challenge a registered will in court?
Yes, it can happen. Even if a will is registered, someone might express his/ her doubt about its legal sanctity or validity. However, it is better to register a will than not. It increases the authenticity of the document and decreases the chance that someone could contest it.
5. Why you should not wait to make a will till old age?
Untimely death from accidents, heart diseases, or terror attacks is becoming “a way of living” in today’s uncertain world. This is why so many people get insurance as young as 25. If you are 18 years old and have any assets, such as a flat, an insurance policy, a bank account or shares, it is important to make a will. A Will is a written instruction to the family on how to distribute an insurance claim or other assets. Everyone should have a will at any age beyond 18 years.
6. What is the validity of a will after death?
A will is valid only after the death of the testator. There are no time limits on its enforcement. It can also be enforced at any time during the beneficiary’s lifetime. The will is considered executed if its contents are fulfilled. If someone wishes to challenge the will’s validity, they must do so within 12 years. The will becomes permanent after that. Anyone wishing to challenge the will after 12 years must provide a strong reason.