How to make a Will ?
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Some days back, I was surprised to see an uncommon name popped up on my cellphone, the call was from not in touch old friend. I was sure it has to be something serious. Otherwise, why will a school friend call me almost after more than 10 years? But, my speculation turned out to be off-target. It was just a well-being call, in this pandemic, many such calls have happened. But this was different, after our usual conversation and investigation, about each other’s life. He informed me that, he and some of his family members’ had tested Covid positive. The story of his fight against Covid-19 was amazing. But sadly, he lost his grandfather in this battle.
Unfortunately, his grandfather died without leaving any ‘Will or Testament’. While conversing with me, he took out all the frustrations he had gone through while claiming/transferring his grandfather’s property in his family members’ name. Jaded with whole experience, he whispered, ‘Fighting the Covid battle was easier than dealing with various authorities for each asset’.
His grandfather was a wealthy man with sound investment knowledge, he had not only invested in various plots, flats and other real estate but also in shares, mutual funds, pension funds and banks deposits.
At the first place it was struggling for him to find out various investments made by his late grandfather. There where stocks of bluechip companies still lying in physical form, KYC at pension fund was not updated, there was no nominee to his bank deposits, were few hindrance in his asset discovery journey.
Preparing Affidavits, Indemnity Bond etc. for each asset made his life difficult. While our investigation conversation, I had informed him that I have started my Independent Legal Practice and have founded a law firm ‘H.D. Law’. Thus, his curiosity to know more about Will and related document became more.
It was surprising for him to know that Will is a last wish of the deceased (testator) is respect of the assets owned by him/her, which can be written on a simple piece of paper by the testator and it requires no registration. Yes! Registration of Will is not compulsory, it is recommended to register a Will, if the testator speculates a dispute between the beneficiaries. Infact, if the testator has basic legal knowledge s/he does not require a Lawyer to make one.
The essential ingredients of a valid will are:
1. Will should be signed by the Testator and witnessed by atleast two person (Advice: Witness should be younger in age then the testator, so that, they are available during deposition (beneficiary of Will should be avoided as witness).
2. Will should be dated and it should state that all the prior wills’ are revoked.
3. The Testator should be of sound mind while making a Will (Advice: It is suggested to have a Doctor’s Certificate, if the testator is old and should be annexed with the Will).
4. Will should provide clear intention of the testator and list down all the assets which testator wishes to bequeath.
5. Will should provide exact details of the beneficiaries i.e. their name, age and relation with the Testator.
After knowing it is so simple to make a will, my friend was contemplating, why? His wealthy grandfather had choose not to.
It is often observed that people miss to do important task of drafting a Will, while busy generating assets. Making a will is as important task as generating assets. What’s the use of assets, left behind, fruits of which cannot be enjoyed peacefully by the beneficiaries/legal heirs? So take out time and prepare your Will. In case you find any difficulty or have any specific query feel free to contact us.
Advocate Hussain Dholkawala
Founder H.D. Law