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Why Is A Will Important In Estate Planning And How To Create One?

A Will is a legal document that authorises another person to execute his plans after death.

Versha Jain
September 8, 2023
Will Important In Estate Planning

Will Important In Estate Planning

A Will is a vital part of estate planning. If a person dies without creating a Will, it may lead to unnecessary conflicts in the family, and the dispute may reach the courts. Hence, a Will can save the family from such strife. Section 2(h) of the Indian Succession Act 1925 explains a Will as “The legal declaration of the intention of a testator with respect to his property which he desires to be carried into effect after his death.”

A Will defines who will get what after the Testator’s (writer of the Will) demise. It is a document everybody has heard about but may not have written themselves. But they should know the implications of not writing a Will and, when preparing it, what they should do to render it valid.

Will Is An Important Part Of Estate Planning 

Vishnu Chundi, founder and CEO of AasaanWill, says, “Wills allow individuals to ensure that their assets are distributed in accordance with their preference after death, and potentially helps avoid family disputes. Intestacy laws, which govern the distribution of assets when there is no Will, frequently follow a rigorous hierarchy based on familial relationships, possibly excluding persons who were of significance to the deceased. This often results in disagreements among surviving family members, adding emotional stress to an already tough situation.”

A Will is crucial for the following benefits.

Family Security: It will secure your children, mainly if they are minors. Instead of an overbearing distant relative taking charge, you can decide who will take care of the matters after you are gone.

Peace Of Mind: Creating a Will can give you peace of mind, knowing that everything is in place if you suddenly die or suffer a prolonged illness. If you are critically ill, you may be unable to write a well-thought-out Will, fulfilling all the necessary legal requirements to make it valid. So, planning your estate and writing it down in a Will while you still can is prudent.

Digital Assets: You can secure your digital assets, like your digital files, social media, etc., which your family members may need to be made aware of. While writing a Will is simple, a few requirements are necessary to make it valid.

What Makes A Will Valid? 

  • A Will is considered valid if written by someone over 18 years of age and with a sound mind. If a Will is written by a child or a person with an unsound mind, it shall not be considered valid.
  • If a Will is written under coercion or threat, it becomes invalid. Free consent in a Will writing is important, and in the absence of which the Will is considered invalid.
  • Further, if a person is in an inebriated state of mind and cannot understand the implications of writing a Will, such a document will not be valid.

Chundi says that while writing a Will, one should avoid making mistakes, such as ambiguity in the language, incomplete list of assets or the beneficiaries, improper witnesses, handwritten corrections in the Will, using a DIY approach (not consulting the legal expert), etc.

Once the essential criteria of a testator are fulfilled, the following needs to be kept in mind.

  • A Will must have a list of all the assets the testator possesses, such as savings, real estate, investments in shares, bonds, other financial or digital assets, etc.
  • After listing the assets, the testator should mention the distribution of assets to family members, philanthropic organisations, etc. Enlist all the assets and leave no chance for dispute later. The testator must appoint a custodian if young children are in the family.
  • Once the above details are written in the Will, it has to be signed in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses must also attest to the document confirming their presence after it was written. It is a mandatory step to give the Will a legally binding.
  • A medical certificate by a doctor may be attached certifying that the person (Testator) is mentally fit and has written the Will in sound mind to avoid any future disagreements.
  • Lastly, registration of a Will is not mandatory, but when registration is done, it removes the chances of any claims of invalidity of the Will.
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