Prepare a Will - Leave nothing to chance
We know you don't want to think of your demise - but bare with us for this article. It's really important to prepare a Will.
Peace of mind is very important, both for you and your loved ones after you are no more. You would not want to be the reason for your loved ones’ quarrels after your death. Prepare a Will and tick one thing of your to do list today.
What do we cover in this article?
See our simple 4-step process for preparing a Will below!
5 reasons you should prepare your Will today:
1. Distribution of assets as per your wish:
A Will helps you decide how your estate is distributed after your death. The distribution of assets is done as per your wish and you can distribute your estate in any way you deem fit.
In case you die intestate i.e. without preparing a Will, your estate is distributed by the court based on the respective law governing you. A Will being a legally binding document, ensures that distribution is done as per your wishes.
2. Care and protection of your children:
A provision can also be made in your Will to ensure the safety, security and proper care of your minor children. A well drafted Will can make sure you decide in whose care your minor children will be in. Being minors, they may not be entitled to receive your property.
The Will makes provisions for the care of the property and its utilization until such time your children attain majority and are legally competent to receive property in their own name. In the absence of a Will, the court takes it upon itself to appoint a guardian/ward for your children.
3. Obtaining a probate:
A Will speeds up the process to obtain a probate from the courts and smoothens the execution of your Will.
4. Estate tax:
In many jurisdictions, a Will can help you to reduce your estate tax burden.
Note: Currently there is no estate/inheritance tax in India.
5. Reduce litigation:
A Will ensures that after your death, there is no litigation as to the distribution of your assets amongst your legal heirs and other dependents.
When should I prepare my Will?
What is the correct time to prepare a Will? At what age should I prepare a Will? Am I too young to prepare a Will? We answer all these questions in the next section.
Benjamin Franklin once said, only two things are certain in life, death and taxes.
Many people are under the false impression that a Will only needs to be prepared after attaining a specific age. This is a completely incorrect notion as no one knows what lies for them ahead.
The law does not specify any age for preparing a Will or even to prepare a Will for that matter.
In our professional opinion and based on the cases we have dealt; a Will should be prepared as soon as:
one has any assets, whether movable or immovable, in his own name
the number of legal heirs/dependants on a person are many in number
you have minor children and live in a nuclear family / do not have anyone else to look after your children as guardians in case of your death
you attain the age of majority, i.e. 18 years in India
How do I make a Will?
There's 2 ways of doing this. The easy way? Contact Galactic Advisors and we'll help you out. The hard way - DIY. See the process below:
Make a list of all the assets you own and liabilities you owe. This includes all your movable, immovable, Indian, foreign assets and liabilities. Leaving behind even the smallest asset/liability might lead to huge future litigations. Also, it is advisable to talk to your family members/close friends/loved ones before finalising your Will.
Decide what do you want to distribute and to whom. It is imperative to be extremely specific. Any ambiguity may lead to long drawn legal battles in the future.
Appoint an executor. An executor, as the name suggests is a person who will carry out the instructions as mentioned in your Will. He will oversee the distribution process of your assets and fulfilment of your liabilities. It is advisable to appoint a trustworthy and unbiased person as the executor of your Will. Generally, an executor is a friend or a close family member who knows the ins and outs of your family and has cordial relations with the legal heirs. However, you may also consider appointing an external person like your Chartered Accountant, Advocate etc. as an executor.
Drafting the Will in a clean and simple manner leaving no scope for any future litigation.
Signing and dating the Will in the presence of 2 legally capable adults. It is not mandatory to register your Will as per the laws in India, however, it is recommended to do so. A Will which is not dated or signed Will not be considered as a valid Will.
Placing the Will/ copy of the Will in the safe keep of the executor or any other responsible person.
Getting the Will apostilled if required by the laws of the country of residence or the country in which the assets are situated.
Preparing a Will is a simple task. However, there are various legal aspects one needs to be aware of before preparing his/her Will.
The smallest of grammatical errors may result in a completely different result. There are various other hurdles one may face while preparing his/her Will. Some of the major concerning questions we've faced include:
Applicability of a Will prepared in India on assets held outside India and vice versa
What happens to the joint account holder in the bank account or demat account?
Co-owner v. joint owner – difference between both and its impact on preparing a Will
Nominee v. Legal Heir v. Beneficiary of a Will – who gets what?
What happens to the right of a nominee?
Is a separate Will required to be prepared for each country in which one as assets?
Taxation of inheritances bequeathed in a Will
What happens in case the beneficiary of a Will predeceases the person making the Will?
What happens to the assets which are not mentioned in a Will either on purpose or by mistake?
Enforceability of a Will
Applicability of obtaining a probate
Will v. Trust? Which is better for you?
Including details of your social media accounts (eg. Facebook and Instagram) in your Will to make sure the details/information/control of those accounts do not fall in the wrong hands
A new Will supersedes all the previous Wills made
Getting a Will registered and apostilled – recommended or mandatory?
Obviously, we're not trying to discourage you from preparing the Will - quite the opposite. We recommend making a Will as soon as possible. Like we said, leave nothing up to chance.
Need help preparing your Will? Drop us a query. Our team of experts will hand-hold you through the process!