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What you need to know about preparing a Will

Note that nominations are not the answer, as a nominee is just the custodian of an asset, and may not be the legal heir. A Will supersedes nomination (Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint)Premium
Note that nominations are not the answer, as a nominee is just the custodian of an asset, and may not be the legal heir. A Will supersedes nomination (Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint)

Covid-19 has brought home the risk of mortality, especially at an early age. The suffering for the surviving members following the death of the head of the family can get aggravated due to legal disputes. During these uncertain times, Mint explains why making a Will is important.

1. Why is it important to prepare a Will?

If a person dies intestate (without a will), the law of succession (Hindu, Shariah, etc.) comes into effect. This not only increases the scope for legal disputes, but also increases the processing time for inheritance. So if you want to bequeath some assets to your spouse, some others in different proportions among your children or make provision for your parents, a properly executed will with clear instructions helps make a smooth transition. Note that nominations are not the answer, as a nominee is just the custodian of an asset, and may not be the legal heir. A Will supersedes nomination.

The process is simple and convenient—register on the website and provide the details of your assets and how you would like those to be distributed
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The process is simple and convenient—register on the website and provide the details of your assets and how you would like those to be distributed


2. How to go about creating a Will?

You can avail the services of a lawyer or prepare a Will online. Many banks, as well as other financial institutions, such as brokers, have tie-ups with legal firms to help prepare a Will online, offering both basic templates or customised content. The process is simple and convenient—register on the website and provide the details of your assets and how you would like those to be distributed. Once you submit the details, the service provider sends you a soft copy of the draft of the Will. Once you confirm, the final Will is mailed to you. Such portals also offer services such as registration of the Will and appointing an executor.

3. What should not be part of your Will?

Any asset that you own can be included in a Will. But, it is always better to ensure that the title of the property is clear before you include it. For example, ancestral proper-ties (part of an HUF) can’t be part of your Will. Any inherited property where the inheritance is not complete can’t be part of your Will. So you can’t include a property which you are likely to inherit.

4. How you can minimise succession disputes

In order to minimize disputes, one should register the Will before a sub-registrar. Two witnesses and a doctor’s certificate stating that the person executing the Will is of sound mental health are required at the time of registration. It is advised to shoot a video after making the Will. Also, if you want to exclude a family member, you should mention his or her name and clearly state that you are not leaving behind any asset for the person. Also, it is always advisable to appoint an executor.

5. Registration charges and tax liability

Though registration is not mandatory, it is advised to get the Will registered. The registration charges vary from state to state and may go up to 1,000. If you have inherited a property through a Will, there is no tax on it. So in case a son receives a property through a Will (whether registered or not), there will be no tax liability on him. Also, in case a person other than the legal heir gets a property through a Will, there is no tax liability. Any property inherited through a Will is exempted from tax.

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