It is a universal truth that no one can escape death, however, no one likes to think about the possibilities of their death and hence avoids planning their estate. On the contrary, it is really very important for you to timely plan your estate, to ensure the security and protection of your family and property if anything happens to you. The basic step towards estate planning is to draft a will and if you haven’t yet thought of doing so then it is the best time to do so. If you already own one, then ensure that you have updated it according to your current wishes.
Also, you must ensure that all your desires are properly documented in your last will as it will be treated as the final proof regarding your wishes after your death by the state court. In the absence of a will, the court holds the authority to distribute your assets according to their own understanding. However, such distribution might not be as per your desires, hence you must start planning and write your will as soon as possible.
What is a Will?
A will is a signed and witnessed legal document that comprises your guidelines and wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your demise. The person who creates the will is known as a testator. The last will appoints the beneficiaries, an executor who will ensure that all your wishes listed in the will are being fulfilled as per your guidelines, a successor to your business (if any) and a guardian to look after the ones who need assistance due to old age or disability and minor children. A will can be drafted by any individual irrespective of their age and wealth they own and it should not be avoided till retirement or any certain milestone of age or wealth.
It can be revoked and alternated any time while the testator is alive. If a person has created multiple wills for the dispensing of his/her assets, then his/her ‘the latest will’ will be executed. If a person passes away without a will, then his/her assets will be distributed to his/her legal heirs such as children, spouse, father, mother, etc., as per the law of inheritance.
A will is considered valid if the state court accepts it and is executed by granting probate. To make a will valid, you must ensure that the will is handwritten, printed or typed, is signed by the testator and is witnessed and signed by at least two witnesses, while being signed by you. In absence of these, the will is considered invalid and the court grants probate the dispensing of your property according to the understanding of the court.
What do I need to make a Will?
If an individual dies without a will it is termed as intestate and then the state law of inheritance will be imposed. It means that the court will be authorized to decide how your property will be disposed, who will be the beneficiaries, who will be the executor and guardian and how things related to distribution will be done. This may not be as per your desire and your family might have to face a lot of trouble while getting your assets. Hence, you must ensure that you should not die intestate and your family is secured and stress-free. It also saves arguments among the family members after your death
Why do I need a Will?
To secure your loved ones: Everyone wants to safeguard their loved ones while alive or even after death. By creating a will and distributing your property to your inheritors, you ensure that they are secured financially and personally. The will assures you that your assets are with the people of your choice thus securing your dependents and your loved ones.
Avoid disputes: If you die with a will, then your estate is dispensed according to it which will assure a smooth transfer of your assets and thus avoid the family disputes.
Securing the dependents: If you have children below the age of 18 or a special need family member, then a will permits you to secure them and their future too. In such cases, you can designate a guardian for them who is a trustworthy person and ready to take this responsibility as well. Apart from this, you can also make arrangements regarding the funds from your property for their upbringing and education.
Provision for second marriage: A will gets invalid after your remarriage and hence you have to update your will including your first marriage family and your second marriage family as well. Otherwise, it can lead to argument and dispute over your estate and the court will be approached by them which will lead to wastage of time and money and causing burden to the family.
Also, if you don’t want your ex-partner to inherit your wealth then you must ensure that your will states your desires clearly.
While you might relax after writing a will, it is advised to review it regularly, especially when any life-changing event takes place in your life such as marriage, remarriage, divorce, childbirth, etc. and update it accordingly to fulfil your current wishes.