Will writing related to property

Will is a document by which a living person bequeaths his property to other persons after his death. Whatever your age, if you’ve assets eg, a house, savings, or a business, and people or others you’d like to look after, consider making a will. While thinking, talking and planning for death may feel uncomfortable, you need to consider how much worse the situation would be if you died or became incapacitated – through illness, accident, old age or emergency – without sorting it. Not making a will can cause months or years of grief for your loved ones. Will enables a person to choose and appoint his/her own Executor and Trustee to carry out his/her wishes and protect his/her interest as well as to appoint the Guardian to his/her minor Beneficiaries. A Will provides an opportunity for the Testator to bestow and make allocations for any special needs of their loved ones such as providing for heirs who are financially insecure or heirs with physical disability. A Will also enables a person to bestow gifts to non-family members/non heirs as well as various charities and religious organizations that the Testator may choose. The legal definition of the Will includes “legal declaration of the intention of the testator with respect to his property which he desires to be carried into effect after his death”. One must understand the important features of will which includes;

  • It is operative only after death
  • It is revocable
  • Codicil- instrument made in relation to a will explaining, altering or adding to it- deemed part of the will

Currently there are no formalities or strict guidelines in drafting a will, But one must be very cautious in signature and witnessed to effectively enforce through the court of law, otherwise it may be considered invalid. Unless your will is very simple, it is best not to write your own will. A person who dies without a will is said to have died ‘intestate’. If you die intestate, this means your estate, or everything that you own, is distributed in accordance with the law as enshrined in the statutes.

Anyone can make a Will, as long as you meet these some basic requirements:

  • Testamentary Capacity
    • Sound mind
    • Major
  • Must know what he is doing
  • Should not be by fraud, coercion or undue influence or pressure.

How do i make a will?

  • No prescribed form or special format
  • Any language- no requirement of magical or technical words
  • Words reflecting only clear and unambiguous intention
  • Made voluntarily and out of free will without any coercion, undue pressure and in sound state of mind
  • Properly signed and attested

Contents of a will

  • Revocation of all previous wills
  • Naming of executor
  • Payment of funeral expenses, debts and taxes
  • Specific bequests
  • Disposition of the residue
  • Declaration of soundness
  • Execution
  • Attestation

Are there any formalities stamp duty, registration, etc.

  • Only execution and attestation by two witnesses compulsory
    • Advisable to have one witness as a medical practitioner/family doctor
  • Doctor’s certificate
  • No stamp duty payable
  • No registration compulsory but advisable to prevent authenticity issues
  • Deposit of will
  • Probate
    • Copy of will certified under the seal of a competent court with grant of administration
    • Mandatory when will is executed by a hindu, christian or parsi in the cities of mumbai, of estate to the executor of the testator kolkatta or chennai or pertains to immovable property situated in these cities

RELEVANT EXCERPT FROM ALFRED NOBEL’S WILL

“The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiology or medical works by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm, and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”

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