|As one becomes older there is a need to facilitate the easy disbursement
of one's posessions and properties to one's loved ones and dependants, so that there will
be no legal battles among them. For this reason it is advisable that everyone with some
property or wealth should prepare a "WILL".
can be defined as "A legal statement written by an individual, stating the manner in
which his or her wealth may be distributed after his or her demise." A person making
a Will is known as a "TESTATOR".
|It is best that one consults an advocate before preparing a Will. It
would be better if the advocate is a person on whom you have the utmost confidence.
|Here are some guidelines to prepare a WILL.
- It is better to make a Will at a younger age. As and when events or changes in the
family necessitate changes the Will can be changed. One of the advantages of making a Will
at an earlier age is that unscrupulous relatives could contest the legality of the Will
made by a very old person on the basis that the person was not of sound mind when the Will
- A Will must always be dated. If more than one Will is made then the one having the
latest date will nullify all other Wills. In fact it would be better to make a statement
nullifying all other Wills.
- A Will should be Simple, Precise and Clear. Otherwise there may be problems for the
legal heirs. Sometimes relatives and others may try to distort the interpretation of the
Will for their own benefit. It is always better to take the advise of a trusted advocate.
- A Will can be hand-written or typed out. No stamp paper is necessary.
- There should be an Executor of the Will
who would be entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the assets are distributed
according to the provisions of the Will. Sometimes more than one Executor may be required
to execute the Will. The Testator (person making the Will) should take the prior consent
of the person whom he or she wishes to name as the Executor.
- A Will should be signed by the Testator in the presence of atleast two Witnesses who have to attest the
same. The full names and addresss of the Witnesses should be clearly indicated in the
Will. It would be better if one of the Witnesses is a medical practitioner, but this is
not essential. The practitioner should certify that the Testator is of sound mind
(especially if the Testator is of an advanced age) and he or she should also note his or
her registration number and degree (educational qualification). A Witness should not be a
beneficiary of the Will. A Witness should also not be an Executor of the Will.
- Each page of the Will should be serially numbered and signed by the Testator and the
Witnesses. This is to prevent substitution, replacement or insertion of a page or pages by
persons with fraudulent intentions. At the end of the Will the Testator can indicate the
total number of pages in the Will. Corrections if any should be countersigned.
- The Will may be kept in a safe place like a bank vault. The Executor and the
beneficiaries should be informed where the Will is kept. It is advisable to keep a signed
copy of the Will with a trusted advocate. Duplicate copies of the Will may be made, signed
by the Testator and the Witnesses and kept at separate places so that if one is misplaced
the other may be used.
- Sometimes the value of certain items of the assets (example: value of share
certificates) may fluctuate. In such a situation, it is better to mention the percentage
of such item/s which should go to each beneficiary.
- Whenever changes in the family circumstances or other reasons necessitate any change in
the Will in the intervening period (from the time of making the Will to the time of demise
of the Testator), the structure of the Will can be amended. Even if there are changes in
the nature of the property or assets, an amendment
may be needed.
- For making changes only in certain clauses of the Will, a Codicil (supplement) is to be prepared which should be
read in conjunction with the Will and which has the power to make appopriate changes in
the relevant clauses of the Will.
- If there are too many changes in the Will, it is better to prepare an entirely new Will.
- It is not compulsory for one to register a Will with the Registering Authority, but in
case any property or asset is given to any charitable organisation, then registration should be done.
- A person's Will becomes operative only after his or her demise.There is no restriction
in the way a person can deal with his or her property even after writing the Will.
(The details provided above are only
guidelines. You are well advised to seek legal advice before executing a Will)
The exact structure of a Will cannot be given. For a "MODEL WILL" based on which the
actual Will may be prepared please CLICK HERE