In our previous blogs, we have discussed the advantages of writing a Will and the costs/consequences of not having one. We have also established that writing a Will is a duty and should be an essential part of your future planning for the financial security of your loved ones. But just writing a Will is not enough, writing an effective legally valid Will is of prime importance. Some of the best Wills are simple but well-made covering most aspects to avoid complications and disputes. To help you through the process, we offer some of the best practices that can be kept in mind while writing a Will.
1. Consolidate your Assets:
The first step of Will writing is to sit down and consolidate all your assets and create a list. There are long forgotten investments, bank accounts, share certificates etc. It can be extremely challenging for your loved ones to consolidate all your financial interests in your absence. A RBI report published shows that INR 14000 crores lie unclaimed in banks. This is either due to an absence of Will or in cases where the beneficiaries do not even know that some bank accounts exist which they have failed to track. If not listed, the assets are either lost forever or can take years for someone to just become aware of them.
Decide the way you want to pass on your legacy. There may be unfinished responsibilities, for example a distant relative helped you in difficult times, now you want to return the favor by leaving behind some asset or cash to them; all your children are well settled except one who has not been able to do as well as the others, now you may want to support that child by giving some additional assets; a loyal companion and staff who has stood by for several years; charities you believe in; friends you want to gift or a favorite nephew or niece, the only other reader in the family to whom you want to leave a special book. Assets may have financial or emotional value, however big or small, you should prioritize and decide on how you would want to distribute them.
3. Mention the reasons:
Once you have decided on the distribution, it is best to mention the reasons as to why some specific asset has been passed on to a distant relative or a close staff, why has the bigger share of the assets gone to a particular child or mention a reason about those clauses where you believe there can be dispute. Disputes can be about particular coveted assets or due to the inclusion or exclusion of particular person. Providing reasons for some specific clauses, reduces the chances of litigation or someone challenging the Will.
In case, the Will is challenged, the legal authority is also clear on the reasons why the testator might have made the decisions that he/ she made. Also keep in mind that grief leads to anger. One of you legal heirs may feel wronged or hurt and then express their grief through anger by challenging the Will. If you can explain what was in your mind, your loved ones may understand and find closure instead of wondering why they were left out or why others were favored. Communicating your thoughts through the Will about provisions where you believe there can be dispute has legal as well as emotional benefits. However, it is not mandatory, after all, it is your asset, and you have the right to distribute it as per your wishes
“Well begun is half done, we will continue the tips for creating a Will in the next blog.”
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