It is said that prevention is better than cure. Here,we are not talking of a medical emergency,but about the unfortunate demise of the head of a family. In such an event,there are always such questions how will the assets be divided among the heirs? Will it be divided equally? A lot of unwanted problems could be avoided if a proper Will is drafted in advance,which will do away with chaos and family feuds. A Will is a legal document/statement,which gives a complete description of how the assets/belongings of a person will be passed on to his heirs/nominees after death.
The first step would be to list all the belongings and assets real estate,bank balance,investments,fixed asset,gold,jewellery,cars or any financial income like business,etc. Along with the asset disclosure,its current value should also be disclosed and the place where the documents are preserved.
List your beneficiaries
Beneficiaries are people who will receive your assets based on the allocation mentioned in the Will. Generally,beneficiaries are family members,relatives,friends,and it can also include a charitable group and others.
Asset allocation will determine who will get what. A portion may be allocated to each beneficiary as a percentage of the total assets,or a complete holding may be allocated to a particular person. For example,investment in shares should go to the elder child. For assets like vehicles,jewellery,paintings,antiques,etc,it is advisable to give detailed description with respect to the beneficiary for each item. To avoid confusion and discontent among beneficiaries,it is advised to mention the reasons for your decisions.
Deciding on executors
Executors are people who carry out the execution of a Will after the death of a person. An executor can be a lawyer or any family member. The job of the executor is to see that the execution of the Will happens as per the description and in its entirety. While drafting the Will,it is advisable to give a thought on who will be the executor and will the person be committed enough to carry out the task assigned?
Deciding on guardian
If the nominee is under 18. It is advisable to appoint a guardian/caretaker for the nominee and the assets allocated to the nominee.
Before deciding on the caretaker,ensure that you have already discussed the same with him and,on his approval,the person is been assigned as a guardian/caretaker. The most important part of the Will is the initial declaration,which mentions that the Will is being written in full senses and free from any kind of pressure.
Points to be considered while making a Will
At the time of drafting the Will,have two witnesses one a lawyer and another a doctor. The lawyer will be helpful in drafting the Will and he will make sure that there are no errors. A doctor stands as a witness not only to the Will,but also to the sound health of the person drafting the Will.
Make sure that the witnesses are not the beneficiaries in your Will or else it might create a case of vested interest and may lead the Will to be rendered invalid.
The witnesses should be younger than you this generally ensures that they are there even after you,especially when the Will is presented and executed. Keep the Will document safely and inform the people/beneficiaries about where it has been kept. Also keep an additional copy,but store it at a different place. A Will should be dated,so in case of multiple Wills, the one with the latest date is considered.
The writer is CEO and founder of Right Horizons