During these uncertain times, a Will is imperative to pass on your assets, that you may have created during your lifetime, to your dependents smoothly.
To avoid any disputes, the person making the Will (the testator) must ensure there are no loose ends. Here are a few points that you need to keep in mind when making a Will.
A Will must be in the language known and understood by the testator. If it’s in a different language, the testator needs to mention that he had taken the assistance of a reliable person to read the entire Will and understands the content.
“The person helping the testator must also be a witness, or an executor, or a beneficiary of the Will,” said Rajat Dutta, founder, Inheritance Needs Services, a company that helps in the execution of inheritance related matters.
The latest Will must mention that it’s the last one of the testator, and it precedes all earlier Wills and Codicils (changes to the earlier Wills).
“It is prudent to mention the reference of previous Wills and Codicils in the latest Will. Even if the same is not mentioned, the last Will would be considered valid unless proved to be made under suspicious circumstances,” said Dutta.
Even if the last Will is ‘unregistered’, it will supersede an earlier ‘registered’ Will.
In case the testator does not want to give or part with any asset to a particular family member, he must mention the name of the beneficiary, who should not be given any asset. Stating the reason for it is not mandatory.
A Will must mention a list of debts and liabilities that the testator has contracted as on the date of signing it, or possible future ascertainable debt and liabilities and how they need to be paid.
The two witnesses signing the document cannot be beneficiaries. Witnesses assume great significance as they certify that testator is in sound mind, not under any threat or coercion or not intoxicated.
Every Will must name executors. Not including one can create administrative hassles for the beneficiaries, and they will need to apply to a competent court for Letters of Administration for executing the Will.
While registration of a Will is not mandatory, it helps to minimise litigation. “A Will can be registered even post the demise of the testator by the executor or any other beneficiary, said Dutta.
Things not to mention in a Will
A Pagdi property is not an asset — it is merely a rental system. As the testator cannot bequeath it, he should not include it in the Wil.
The same holds for ancestral and inherited property.
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