Why to write and register a WILL: Some practical suggestions

Most people think that there is automatic clause in succession law that in case of demise of owner of immovable property, wife/husband/legal heirs become automatically legal owners of immovable property   - completely false. 97% persons believe so and don’t write their WILL.

Registering WILL is now compulsory for those having property in their name. Otherwise legal heirs will have to get probate/succession certificate from civil court, which is not easy to get. All our efforts to amass wealth are for the benefits of wife and children and is aimed at leaving behind a rich legacy for our loved ones - firstly wife and family members.

In the absence of proper and registered WILL, property gets distributed equally among legal heirs according to the succession laws based on your religion.  Today , middle class senior citizens have significant self acquired assets and want a say in their bequest(whom to give property on demise )  among the younger generation, there are multiple marriages, inter-caste and inter religion marriages and children from different spouses, which increase the importance of writing and registering  WILL, to avoid confusion over which succession law would apply.

It is your own wealth and only you (and your spouse), have the right to decide who gets what. All children are not equal - financially or in terms of physical and emotional well being. A person with a dependent widowed daughter, or a physically - challenged child, may want to make special provision for them through a WILL, over children who are better-off. In the absence of WILL, property will be distributed by Hindu law if Hindu - equal share to mother, wife and children. Hence a flat will be owned jointly by all legal heirs and mutuated in all legal heirs’ names a WILL gives option to you  to give more to your needy children. . This can only be done through a registered WILL.   

Finally WILL writing is not filling up the blanks.  Serious discussion between husband and wife has to take place on the issue. Firstly, it is my belief that  everything should go to spouse because he/she has to spend next few years alone  and should have flat/house of own  and adequate self financial support so that there is no dependency on  children. Afterwards surviving spouse shall decide how to distribute the wealth depending upon the treatment meted out to him/her by children after the demise of her/his  spouse. 

If you are fearing that your WILL is likely to be contested, kindly take following additional precautions:

1. Have three witnesses instead of two witnesses - reliable, trustworthy and younger than you because many times even probate is also contested by greedy relatives.

2. Put your thumb impression along with your signature at every page and at the end of the WILL. There is no legal bar to this.

3. Have a medical certificate at the end of the WILL stating your competency to write WILL, if you are beyond 70 years and /or not keeping good health.

4. Put a “No contest in the WILL “i.e. Anyone who contests the WILL, would be completely disinherited.

In case of unregistered WILL (which includes no WILL) , the beneficiaries must be asked to obtain succession certificate/ probate order  from a competent civil court  "decide now whether you wish your wife/husband  to spend four percent of value of property, visit to advocate office, court and delays  of many years or write and register  your WILL.

-   Courtesy: Agewell Supporter

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