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A will-win situation

By Vishesh Sharma | 8/15/2011 5:17 PM Monday

Why Make A Will?

If you talk to people about making a will, chances are that they would either feel that you are after their money or are expecting their death soon. But consider that in a country like India, which is full of RajGharanas, or blue-blooded lineage, inheritance battles have become a norm. No wonder the country has witnessed many bloody legal wars for inheritance, including those in the Birla and the Ambani families.

This sort of feud results out of future scenarios that we fail to foresee during our lifetime. Often, people nominate someone with respect to their financial assets and expect that it will be passed to their heirs legally, without any issues. If you are also thinking on the same lines, then you are certainly living in a world of fantasy. Merely nominating someone isn’t the answer – it is imperative that you create a will to distribute your wealth in the manner that you wish.

“I would say that along with making arrangements for family members, a person should also fulfil his/her obligations for those who have been associated with him/her for long. For example, while planning a will, you can also give something to your driver, servant or any other person who has been with you throughout”, says S S Pai, Founder, Make A Will Foundation (a group of volunteers who promote social awareness regarding succession planning.) Pai explains, “A will is a sensitive topic to open up to. In India, people are not comfortable discussing a will. However, all apprehensions disappear when I tell them the consequences of not making a will.”

Will To Perfection

People wish to make a perfect will to avoid conflicts in the family. So, what exactly is the perfect will?

“It is very difficult to define a perfect will, as the law does not have any definition for it. There is no set format either. However, to make a lay person understand, a will should be written in such a manner that it is easy to read, and has no ambiguity. It should be specific and to the point, written in accordance with the laws of the land and also the personal laws, if any. Last, but not the least, it should have a proper date, and should be registered with the appropriate authority”, says Vanya Vida, a practising lawyer.

Rakesh Khanna, Managing Partner, R K Law Offices, a New Delhi-based law firm has this to say, “It is indeed very difficult to define a perfect will. Any will can be challenged legally. However, it is suggested that a person must write a will in the presence of two witnesses, and in a healthy state of mind. If challenged in the court, these witnesses would be able to prove the legality of the will. It is also advisable that you must write the will in the presence of a doctor, who could later testify that the will was written by the testator in a healthy mental state.”

Kinds Of Wills
  • Privileged and Unprivileged Wills
  • Wills executed according to the provisions of Section 63 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (the Act), are called Unprivileged Wills. There are also certain special and classified persons who can draw up their own wills, termed Privileged Wills, under Section 66 of the Act.

     

    Find More Articles on: DSIJ Magazine, PF Cover Story, Personal Finance, Articles

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