- An individual passing away without writing a Will leaves behind family members prone to disputes and conflicts
- A Will can be drafted on piece of plain paper
A Will is a legal document that can be written by anyone above 18 years of age. It lists various assets owned by the individual writing the Will, along with clear instructions for passing on the ownership of those assets once the individual is no more. Writing a Will should be top priority for any person who has accumulated multiple assets or properties.
Writing a Will is a simple process and can even be done on a plain piece of paper. Even then, there are many individuals who do not draft a Will, either due to misplaced feelings about the complexity of the task or due to the fact that they don’t view death as something which demands immediate attention.
To prevent any dispute among the family members, it is best to write a Will that clearly defines how the movable and immovable assets would be divided among them. Otherwise, the following three scenarios mentioned below are likely to take place:
Improper asset allocation
A Will clearly states the name of individuals and the proportion of assets allocated to them. The absence of same can lead to the family members disputing amongst themselves for a bigger portion than what the property holder had wanted.
For instance, an individual having five heirs wants the youngest heir to receive an asset worth ₹2 crore from his total property of ₹5 crore. If a Will is made, then this shall be taken care of. Otherwise, the courts will take the call and may split the amount equally among the heirs. This means that instead of getting the ₹2 crores, the youngest heir will get ₹1 crore.
Inheritance will be as per prevalent succession law
If an individual dies intestate (having made no legally valid Will before death), then the inheritance will be as per the prevalent succession law that takes the religion of the deceased into consideration. The chart below explains how succession takes place in case of intestate succession.
More stress for heirs
In the absence of a Will, the courts take precedence in the inheritance decision making process. This requires the legal heirs to spend a large sum of money, just to meet the legal requirements and for the procurement of necessary documents such as succession certificate (for movable properties) and letter of administration (for immovable properties).
In short, legal heirs will have to invest more time, money and effort into obtaining something that is legally theirs.
So, think about your inheritance today, and spare your heirs the trouble that may come their way if you don’t take the time out to draft a Will. Also, seek legal advice while drafting one, so that important legal requirements are not skipped, and the Will is error-free and legally correct.