All you need to know about making a Will in India
What’s a Will?
A Will is a legitimate declaration of a person’s intention on distributing his/her self-acquired property amongst his/her legal heirs after his death.
How to write a Will?
The rightful age of writing a Will is above 21 years. a registered Will is more legally binding, in order to write a Will, but it is not necessary. A plain paper is sufficed to write a will provided it is in the hand-writing of a person making a will.
What are the important things to note while writing the will?
Signature/thumb impression of a will maker;
Sound mind and free from any undue influence;
Witnessed and signature certified by 2 witnesses.
Why you should get a will made?
A will ensures the financial security of your spouse, minor children or sons and daughters after your death. It allows you to distribute your wealth after your death and helps in avoiding any family clashes and smoothens the transfer of wealth.
What are the laws governing a will in India?
In India, there are separate religious laws that govern the Will Laws. It includes Indian Succession Act, 1925, Hindu Law, Muslim Law and Indian Registration Act, 1908.
Under Hindu Succession Act, if there is no will, all the assets and liabilities of the deceased person are distributed among his/her legal heirs on the basis of their closeness with the deceased. It is applicable on Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs etc.
Under Muslim Acts, here Will is better known as Wasiyat, where the Muslim is morally responsible to make the division of his/her estate/property. He/She can only bestow his/her 1/3rd share of his/her total property in a will which will be validly executed after his/her death. Not only that, he/she may accept this 1/3rd share to 1/4th share only after getting the consent from all the heirs or if only heir is husband or wife.
Inheritance in Christians in India is governed by Indian Succession Act, 1925, which defines total and partial intestacy if the deceased does not bestow his/her beneficial interest in any of his/her property by way of making will.
How are the procedures involved while making a will?
Step 1: Declaration in the beginning: In the first paragraph, you have to declare that you are making this will in your full senses and free from any kind of pressure. You have to mention your name, address, age, etc at the time of writing the will so that it confirms that you really are, in your senses.
Step 2: Details of Property and Documents: The next step is to provide list of items and their current values, like house, land, bank fixed deposits, postal investments, mutual funds, share certificates owned by you. You must also indicate, where all these documents are stored by you. In all probability, these are in your bank safe deposit box.
Step 3: Details of ownership: At the end of the will, you should mention who should own your assets items and in what proportion, after you have gone. If you are giving your assets to a minor, make sure you appoint a custodian of your assets till the individual you have selected, reaches an adult age. This custodian obviously, has to be a trustworthy person.
Step 4: Signing the Will: At the end, once you complete writing your will, you must sign the will very carefully in presence of at least two independent witnesses, who have to sign after your signature, certifying that you have signed the will in their presence. The date and place, also must be indicated clearly at the bottom of the will. Make sure you and the witnesses sign all the pages of the will.
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