There is an old saying that where there is a will, there is a way. Though the saying is used in a different context, it is even more relevant in Financial management pertaining to creation of a Will and Succession planning.
Firstly, we will discuss what happens if one dies without making a Will.
A person who dies without making a Will is called Intestate and the inheritance is passed on according to the succession laws applicable to him as per his religion.
The Hindu Succession Act,1956, and Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 governs Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. If a Hindu male dies intestate, his property will go to Class I heirs. If these don’t exist, it will go to Class II heirs. If these don’t exist, it will go to Agnates, and in their absence of Agnates, to Cognates. If Cognates too are not there, the estate goes to the government.
Class I heirs: Son, Daughter, Widow, Mother, Son/Daughter of a predeceased son, Son/Daughter of predeceased Daughter, Widow of predeceased Son, Son/Daughter of a predeceased Son of predeceased Son, Widow of predeceased son of a predeceased son.
Class II heirs: Father, Son's daughter's son, son's daughter's daughter, brother, sister, and the list goes on.
Agnates: Distant blood relatives of male.
Cognates: Distant blood relatives of male or female.
Not having a Will is the biggest mistake when it comes to estate planning. The family of the deceased may have to shell out huge sums of money and time in the absence of Will and nominations.
So, this brings to the question as to what a Will is and how it can be executed.
What is a Will?
A Will is a document that is drawn by a person (known as testator) with clear instructions as to how his/her assets are to be distributed on their death.
The following points explain the concept of Will in India
Who Can Will?
The testator must be of 18 years of age and He/ She must not be mentally challenged.
What can be Willed?
The testator can bequeath all of his/her property over which he/she has complete ownership. This list would include his/her house, land, money, jewellery, earnings from fixed deposits etc.
How to make a Will in India?
There is no fixed format for writing a Will in India. One does not even require stamp paper for writing a Will. A Will can simply be written on a plain paper. The only requirement for a Will to be formally called a Will is, signature or thumb impression of the person making the Will along with signature or thumb impression of any two witnesses.
Registration of the Will
Section 18(e) of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 specifies that the registration of a Will is optional.
Who can get the Will registered?
The testator or after his death the executor of the Will can get the Will registered.
Why it is advised to get the will registered?
It is advised that a testator should get his Will registered under the provision of Indian Registration act as it removes all the doubts revolving around the Will. All the ambiguities and hindrances are removed just by getting the Will registered.
How to draft an E-will?
With the advancement of technology, making a Will has become easier. Now a person can even make an online Will or e-Will and it is as much binding as any ordinary Will. It provides digital data of your assets, investments, properties and to whom one wants to give his wealth after demise. It is safe, secure and time-saving. Service providers such as Ezeewill- NSDL, HDFC etc offers services in relation to e-Will at competitive rates.
Heman Natwarlal Shah