Why make a will?

Making a will is simple? Making a `Will` seems to be a simple job; just download a Will, fill in the details and your Will is ready. Or so you think.

What can go wrong?

Scenario 1: One child depriving the other children of their rightful share: Especially if the other children did not know about the existence of the asset.  In case you wish to make sure that some of your children do not deprive the other children of the money, make sure you say it in your Will, loudly!

Scenario 2: I have to look after him, and so his house should belong to me! Though it sounds `justified` giving all your assets to one child who took care of you may not be a great idea. Pay the `caretaking` child a nice salary : after all you will pay a full time nurse, will you not !

Let us say you think your `sacrificing daughter` deserves a salary of Rs 30,000 a month that will amount to Rs 360,000 a year, for 5 years that will amount to only Rs 18 lakh, not Rs. 1.7 crores as she claims!

Scenario 3:  If you have more than one marriage, ensure that the children of the first wife, the first wife, the second wife, and the children of the second wife are not in any kind of a financial `joint relationship`. Simple, but true, you need to separate them and your Will has to be well drafted.

Scenario 4: Your daughter wants to move in with you to look after you. How noble! But after 3 months she asks to be made a joint owner in your property. You oblige. She had `forgotten` to tell you that she is a guarantor to her `artist` son`s TV serial venture which ran aground 2 years back. Can the bank start chasing YOUR PROPERTY? You bet!

Scenario 5: You spent Rs 5 lakhs on your son`s education and Rs 12 lakhs on your daughter`s wedding expenses. So he wants a bigger share in the inheritance. Just communicate.

Scenario 6: Your son is doing very well for himself, likes his sister, but knows that brother-in-law is a bum. If you leave more for your daughter, he might ask “Are you punishing me for doing well in life and leaving your money to that bum!`. Communicate, do not assume.

Scenario 7: You loaned Rs 10 lakh to your son when he bought that penthouse, he knew you had the money and you gave. Now he is avoiding your calls! What do you do? Most importantly let the other children know it, and ensure that this is mentioned in the will; now dividing the rest of the assets equally is unfair.

These are of course just samples.

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2 Responses to “Why make a will?”

  1. www.RaagVamdatt.com on May 11th, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Subra,

    Excellent, excellent article! It is great to see you highlight so many of the very common (but easily avoidable) scenarios!

    Its is hard to believe that so many issues arise due to either:

    – Parents giving property to their children while they are still alive, or

    – Unequal or improper allocation of property in the will.

    Maybe, as usual, people think things would not happen to them!

    “It will not happen to me” or “My children would never do someting like that” is somehthing that we like to think, but might not turn out to be true! We can always hope that we are right in thinking this, but it would be very prudent to be prepared (just in case!!) through a well-thought-out will.

    Once again, congrats for writing this great article!

  2. Can anyone share how much it costs to get a will done? I’m looking for a basic scenario – leave all assets to my wife
    in case we both die
    if our son is major, leave all assets to him
    if our son is minor,
    appoint my wife’s brother as guardian
    leave all assets to my son
    these will be managed by a mutual friend
    If templates are available, I’d write up the will & get it ratified by a legal expert.
    Just want to know the approx pricing for a range of services needed. Thanks!

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