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What is a Will?

A Will is a legal declaration by a person who is above 18 years of age with respect to their wish for the bequeathal of their property – both movable and immovable. It comes into effect after the death of the person making the Will. It reflects the last wishes of the person for the manner in which their property will be divided post their death.

Who can make a Will?

Any person who is of a sound mind and above the age of 18 can make a Will. It is regardless of a person’s net worth. The Law recognizes that any adult can dispose their property after their death in any way they would want.

Who should make a Will?

In today’s day and age everyone who has any property or asset whether movable or immovable should make a Will. Every person ought to plan how their assets will be divided after their death by making a Will. It is a necessary part of financial and property management in the uncertain times we live today.

Why is it important to make a Will?

Each person who has any property should plan how their property both moveable and immoveable should be divided after their death. It helps the property and valuables being divided in accordance to their wishes and not just by what laws of succession dictate. It avoids confusion and long lengthy legal processes. It ascertains the future of their near and dear ones. It makes for a hassle free succession. It provides for loved ones who may not be otherwise entitled to the property under law, for e.g. in the case of live-in relationship .

Is it a lengthy process?

No. It is a simple process which helps avoids the uncertainty of property division after one’s death..

What happens if I don't make a Will?

In such a case the property and valuables of any person will be divided in accordance to the laws of succession. These laws of succession are different for different communities. This often causes lengthy court proceedings which are complicated and expensive. The property is distributed only after all disputes are settled.

I am married, can my wife and I make a Will together?

Yes. You can both make a joint Will which will come into force after the death of both parties who made the joint Will.

What happens if I die without a Will ?

In such a case the assets will be divided according to the laws of succession and not in accordance with your wishes. Any transfers to be conducted may require a probate which as explained is a lengthy complicated expensive affair.

I am old and my children know what I want them to do with my property, Do I need a Will ?

Yes because there is no way of ensuring that your wish will be respected if it is not in the format of a proper Will. The laws of succession apply and not your wishes which you may have conveyed orally.

Do I need to have a minimum amount of net worth/ property to make a Will?

No. A Will can be made to devolve any asset. The value of the assets does not matter.

What property / assets can be referred to in a Will?

It is advisable that you mention all your immoveable property ( such as house/ shop/ land/ flat etc ), moveable property , all single or jointly owned property, wealth, assets , receivables, as well as liabilities and loans. All cash, precious metals, fixed deposits, shares, mutual funds should be mentioned. The following properties generally form the subject-matter of a Will:-

  1. Annuity
  2. Appurtenances
  3. Belongings
  4. Books including Manuscripts
  5. Car
  6. Chattels
  7. Effects
  8. Estate
  9. Furniture including, paintings, linen, utensils, etc.
  10. Fixtures
  11. Household goods
  12. Income including dividends and bonus shares
  13. Investments in stocks, shares, debentures and deposits other than in bank or banks, bonds and securities
  14. Jewellery
  15. Lands and tenements
  16. Money, i.e., cash and bank balances
  17. It must be clearly borne out in mind that you can execute the Will of your property/assets. No Will can be made in respect of the property which belongs to someone else and vice versa. For more details contact our toll free number .

Can joint property be included in a Will?

Yes they should be mentioned in the Will

Can I appoint a Guardian for my Children through my Will?

The guardian can be appointed for the property of the minor children in the Will. This will require looking into the facts and circumstances of your family and relations. Please contact our toll free number where our trained representative will help you .

Can I dispose my assets in any way that I like?

Yes generally speaking you are free to devolve your assets as you please. However it may also depend on the personal laws applicable to you. For e.g. a Muslim can only bequeath 1/3rd of their property through a Will.

What if I want to change my Will ?

You are free to make changes in your Will provided it is done in a proper format for e.g. a Codicil

What is a Codecil?

A Codicil is a written document that supplements, changes or modifies an existing Will. It will be executed in the same manner as a Will.

I suffer from lifestyle diseases and am on regular medication. Can I make a Will?

Yes, so long as you are mentally fit and has clear understanding of your actions. It is advisable to obtain a medical clearance from a certified medical practitioner that the disease has not incapacitated you mentally and that all your vital functions are normal.

Can a Will be made in any pattern?

No. Like mentioned above a Will is a simple document underlining your desires as to how your property will devolve post your death. However, it is governed by the laws of the land. Generally a Will is not valid unless

  1. It is in writing
  2. It is signed by the person making the Will with an intent of signing on the Will
  3. It has 2 or more witnesses present at the time of the signing of the Will
  4. Witnesses have signed in the presence of the person making the Will
  5. The Will is not marked in any way or spoiled and has been made to record any changes that may have taken place.
Is it necessary to use a lawyer to make a Will?

It is not necessary. It can be drawn up by you yourself. However, domain experts such as PlaNext help you avoid the common pitfalls that you may not be aware of while drawing your own Will. This is advisable so that you may be aware of the laws of the land as well as ensure that it is a legally tenable document that will be upheld by the Courts. Wills made by laypersons may have mistakes that can create problems and may cause dispute which are expensive to sort out.

What are the common mistakes when making a Will?

Some of the common errors are listed below:

  1. Lack of awareness of what is needed to make a Will legally valid.
  2. Failure to take into account all the money and property that one may have
  3. Failure of making a valid codicil
  4. Being unaware of the effects of marriage or divorce on a Will
  5. Failure to provide for the contingency of the death of the person who may be a beneficiary of the Will.
  6. Being unaware of all the loopholes that can be exploited by people who may want to challenge your Will to cause distress to your beneficiary
  7. Lack of knowledge of who can be a witness in accordance to the laws of evidence
Is it mandatory to register a Will?

No. However, it is recommended to register a Will.

What are the laws that govern a Will?

Now that is where it gets complicated. Each community or religion has a different succession law for governing how the property and Will is governed. There are separate personal laws governing Wills depending on the community you belong to.

Are there many kind of Wills?

Yes. Wills may be privileged/unprivileged/joint/conditional/contingent etc. Please contact our toll free help line for more information.

What is a privileged Will?

Any Will executed by a soldier employed in a expeditious or at the war front or an operation is known as a Privileged Will. The rules for making these will are fairly flexible. However, after the cessation of the warfare or operation this will follow all the procedure for making a general Unprivileged Will.

What is a conditional Will?

Any Will which has its effect only on the happening of a particular condition is known as a Conditional Will. If the condition does not take place the Will automatically becomes legally non-enforceable.

What is a contingent Will?

A Contingent Will is the same as a conditional Will.

How should I store my Will?

A Will needs to be stored in a secure place where it is kept in safe custody. It must also be stored in a place where it is practically and easily retrievable so that it can be accessed as soon as needed.

What is an executor?

Any person appointed or authorized to take action by the Testator of the Will to deal with the wishes as per the Will. Executors are appointed in the Will. An Executor can be any trusted person who can assist the beneficiaries to help carry out the instructions in a Will.

Is it necessary to appoint an Executor?

Under the law it is not mandatory to appoint an Executor. However, it may be preferred by some people to appoint an Executor in their Will.

I had made nominations for my properties and assets. Should the same be included in a Will?

Yes. A nomination is merely a facility to claim the property/asset in the event of the death of the owner. However, a nominee only acts as a trustee for temporary period until the legal heir is established as per the Will or the Succession Act. Thereafter the nominee under law is bound to hand over the assets and the properties to the legal heirs.

Can business ownership i.e. shares in a company be bequeath?

Yes. Ownership of shares owned can be bequeathed by a Will.

Who is a beneficiary under the Will?

A beneficiary is somebody to whom a legacy or property is bequeathed under the Will. They are often referred to as a legatee.

I have a huge loan on me what happens after my death?

A debt is liable to be refunded from the estate of the deceased.

Who is a legal heir?

A legal heir is a person whether male or female who is entitled to succeed to the properties of the deceased persons under the various applicable personal laws of succession.

Can a Will be cancelled, if so how?

Yes. A Will can be cancelled or revoked at any point in time. A Will also be considered revoked if a fresh will is made. Thus a Will can be cancelled

  1. by execution of a subsequent Will
  2. by writing and declaring an intention to revoke the Will.
What is a probate? Is it mandatory for all ?

A probate is a certificate issued by court after the court of law is satisfied that it is the last and final valid Will of the deceased. An Executor nominated under the Will can apply for a probate. Probate is not always necessary. It depends on the geographical location/individual state laws.

What is the difference between a beneficiary and a nominee?

A nominee is merely a trustee of the asset and will eventually hand over the asset to the legal heir. The beneficiary is a person entitled to receive assets or properties under the Will.

I have assets in other countries does my Will cover them?

It is possible to draft your Will in a manner that covers all assets wherever in the world they are situated. However we suggest that legal advice should be sought in the country where such property is situated

I am a non-resident Indian who has property in India what I should I do?

Any property movable or immovable would require a Will to be made under Indian laws and registered in India to facilitate smooth succession.

I am getting married however I have a previous Will. Is the previous Will valid?

The act of marriage automatically revokes an existing Will, unless the Will has been drafted in expectation of a marriage.

I am getting divorce; will that impact on my existing Will?

Divorce does not automatically revoked a Will unless certain other criteria are met. It is advisable that a Will should certainly be reviewed following a divorce.

I am married for the second time and have children from the second marriage. How do I protect my ex/present spouse and or my children?

This is become increasingly common situation. It is imperative in such a case to seek domain expert. The Will needs to be drafted keeping in view your wishes with respect to each property and the person you would want it to go after your death.

We have now grand children do we need to update our Will?

This would be based on the facts and circumstances of your intention. If your current Will states that you would like your estate to pass to your children and you would want to secure this further for your grandchildren, you may amend your Will. A Will can be amended with a simple Codicil.

Are the succession laws different for Indian Christians and Parsees compare to other religions?

Accordingly to the Indian Succession Act, the process and procedure for making and executing a Will is applicable in the same manner to most communities. The Indian Succession Act does not apply to Muslims.

How is the provision of law separate for Muslims in the case of Will?

Under Muslim Law, both male and female can make a Will. Even a minor may make a Will provided the minor ratifies the Will after attaining majority. The Will can be oral or in writing. However, the laws applicable to Muslims limit the power to bequeath of the person to only 1/3 of the net assets. 2/3rd of the net assets will go as per their laws of succession.

When do I need a new Will?

When a Will has been made it is imperative that any change in circumstances is updated in the Will. These include:.

  1. Getting married or remarried
  2. Getting separated or divorced
  3. Birth or adoption of children ( if you want to include them as your beneficiaries)
Who can be the witnesses to the Will? Are there any laws or rules for the same?

As per the law of the land it is imperative that for a Will to be a legaly valid Will it must be signed in the presence of the two witnesses who would confirm that the Will has been signed in front of them by the person making the Will. It must be remembered that witnesses must put in their signature and not just any mark. It is also to be noted that both or any of the witnesses may be called by the Court in the event of any question raised on the legality/authenticity of the Will. Ideally witnesses should not be related by blood or marriage.

How long should it take to complete my Will Information Questionnaire online?

Depending on the assets you have it is a relatively simple procedure and should not take you more than 30 minutes if you have all the details readily available.

Will the toll free line give me specific legal advice?

While we try and give all the information online we have trained paralegal staff and experts on the toll free line to help and guide you.

What if I require specific legal advice?

You can call us on our toll free number 1800 300 23199 to speak to our customer service representative or email us at contact@planext.co.in.

What happens once I have filled in the Will Information Questionnaire?

The website directs you to the Terms and Conditions web page and the payment gateway. Once you have completed the payment-our in-house legal team vets the Will minutely and you’re completed Will would be sent to you within 72 working hours for your review and final printing.

Where should I store my Will?

Your Will can be stored with you in a locker with your important documents or PlaNext can store it for you in a secured third-party location with lron Mountain which is a multinational document storage company. The company stores it in fire-safe secure location and can be retrieved within a maximum of 48 hours of receiving the request from your registered email id or your legal heir/s.

Is this only an online service?

Yes, we have this as an online facility. However in select cities subject to available resources and an additional cost we could also have our team of experts visit your house to take your inputs.