Most people stay away from making a will because they feel that they don’t need it or think that it is too complex a process. They are wrong! In this article, I will explain how to make a Will for free in India.
Note – I have also uploaded a video on this topic on my Youtube channel – The School Of Personal Finance. So if you are someone who prefers hearing instead of reading, feel free to watch it on the below link.
Watch video version of How to Make a Will for Free in India
Before we go onto the details of how to make a Will for free in India, let us understand few basic things.
1.1 What is a Will?
Will, or Vasiyatnama as it is called in Hindi, is basically a document containing instructions about how your assets should be distributed after your death – what goes to whom and in what percentage.
1.2 Why do you need a Will?
We all acquire some assets during our lifetime. They can be in the form of bank savings, locker deposits, shares, mutual funds, properties, businesses etc. If you do not make a Will, no one will know how to distribute these assets after your demise and this can result in unhappy situations within the family in case someone gets greedy.
Making a Will ensures that your assets are distributed as per your wishes. This prevents family feud/lawsuits after your demise.
1.3 Who can create a Will?
In movies and TV series, we see that super-rich people create a Will because they have to distribute their multiple assets. However, in reality, everyone should make a Will as everyone has some assets. You can create a Will by writing
Tip => If you anticipate lots of problems or fight within the family over your assets, get the will registered. Else, writing it on paper is enough.
2. How to make a Will
I will divide this into 2 sections – Preparation Work and Actually Writing the Will:
2.1 Preparation work
Before you sit down to write a Will, it is important to collect all the necessary information. Following are the things you will need:
2.1.1 Basic Details
These include legal name, parent’s legal name, residence address and government id proof number. You need it for following people:
- Your Beneficiaries – People to whom you plan to distribute your wealth
- 2 Witnesses – People who can vouch for the authenticity of the Will. Note that these cannot be beneficiaries in your Will.
- 1 Executor – The person who will read out your Will in the presence of beneficiaries.
Tip => Always use a legal name written on government id while writing a Will. In India, we commonly use initials of our name or use parents’ name as a middle name even if it is not printed in government documents. Do NOT use these names on a Will as they will not be valid.
Tip => Try having your neighbours or family friends as witness as they know you and will be able to vouch for the authenticity of your Will.
2.1.2 Asset Details
Make a detailed list of all the assets you own. These include but are not limited to :
- Bank – List of all banks where you have an account, account#, branch details, type of account, etc.
- Locker Details
- Trading account – Account via which you trade in stock markets
- Mutual funds – Details of MF you own, folio# etc.
- Properties – All details related to property id, address, ownership % etc.
- Insurance policies
This is the most crucial and time consuming step but a very important one.
2.2 Actually Writing the will
If you have all details from the above section, writing an actual Will should not take more than 10-15 minutes. I have broken the Will into 4 sub-sections:
This is where you give your basic details, declare that you are writing the Will in good health and without any influence or pressure, mention the date on which you are writing the Will and declare that all previous Wills should be considered null and void.
Example – I Prem Kumar Sharma, son of Love Kumar Sharma, and aged 35 years am creating this Will on 15th May 2021. I currently reside in Flat#123, ABC Society, XYZ Area, Pune 411011 with my spouse (her legal name) and children (their legal name). I declare that I am mentally and physically in sound state and am writing this will as per my wishes without any influence, pressure or fear. For all purpose, this Will should be considered as my latest Will and any previous Will I had written should be considered Null and Void.
2.2.2 List your assets
Here you will list down all the assets you had identified in previous section.
2.2.3 Distribution to beneficiaries
In this sub-section, you will distribute the assets and wealth to your beneficiaries. You can either distribute the entire share to one person or split it between multiple people.
Tip => Remember to distribute everything in terms of percentages. For example, I pass on 100% of the money in my SBI bank to my spouse.
2.2.4 Back-up Beneficiaries
This sub-section will cover what happens if your beneficiary dies before Will is executed. So you will have to give backup beneficiary details.
Example – In case my spouse pre-deceased, assets should be distributed equally among two sons.
End the Will by giving witness and beneficiary details. Remember that you and both witnesses should sign on each page of the will. Once done, put the Will in an envelope, seal and sign it and either give it to your executor or inform him where to find it. On top of the envelope, remember to write names of people/beneficiaries in front of whom the executor should open and read out the Will.
If you follow the above steps properly, you will have a legal Will for free.
Hope you found the article useful and are motivated to write the Will. Please do share your inputs and comments.
I also plan to share a sample Will template on this page once I get substantial like on this article. Until then keep sharing with your family and friends and stay safe.
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