I have written many posts about writing a will…but the damn thing is so important that I do not mind writing it again.

If you have had a simple life, one marriage, one kid and simple financial assets, the WILL does not become very important. However even if there are some complications like divorce, remarriage, biological children and adopted children, your spouse having children from a different marriage, …..you get the drift, right?

If some of this is true, then you need to have a nice well drafted will. Use the services of a good lawyer, and get it drafter properly.

Let us see the general tips in writing a will!

be very clear: My elder son, Mr. S K Lee, born on 14 Jan, 1976 having passport number  45xd12345 is far, far clearer than saying MY son.

be precise in the division: If you are dividing your equity portfolio worth Rs. 3 crores amongst your 3 children, it is very difficult to say which share will belong to whom. My suggestion is simple. Divide your portfolio into 3 parts and open 3 demat accounts having your name as the first name and the other person as the second holder. On your death the shares will automatically pass on to the second holder.

One caveat: I do not like a parent to hold shares or any asset in the name of a child until the child reaches about 50 years of age and the parent is sure that the child has not given any bank guarantees…etc.

 be even more clear: say that you are writing of your own free will, preferably write it in your own handwriting (a few cuts and corrections could be useful to say that you KNEW what you were doing), say you are writing it on 14, November, 2013, and all the other wills, if any,  are invalid.

communicate well with your children: dividing things unequally amongst your kids should not lead them to think that you played favorites! Your books collection, your pens, favorite car, ….tell your kids what you are doing. Also involve them so that there is no hurt. Of course it is YOUR asset, and it is YOUR right, but just communicate it properly.

keep a residual clause: for assets not too big to be mentioned, or something that you forget!

Keep a video record: get one of your children / grand children to make a video footage of the whole process of writing…when you keep chatting with somebody, talk to your lawyer, etc. so that it cannot be easily challenged.

Get 2-3 witnesses: If you can get a notary, the family doctor, and a lawyer to be the 3 witnesses and their signing also taken in the video..you get very safe in case of a challenge.

Caveat: if you think there is even a remote chance of the will being challenged get a lawyer involved and have the will registered. I know dumb lawyers with no understanding who charge Rs. 12000 for writing a will and lawyers who will give you fantastic tips on what to do – but charge you Rs. 50,000. In life, I have found cheap stuff pretty expensive.

Be careful.




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  1. Thank you subra for guiding us on this regularly.with the,help of lawyer who is specialise in this…made my wii..signed by 2 Drs younger than me by a decade.I am 41…ofcourse i have not registered it nor did any video shoot.please keep on guiding on this.Also once will is ready…..do we need to update it as our wealth,increase say every 5 or 10 years and again obtain signatures from same witnesses?

  2. I feel that conditional clause could also be mentioned since many times unforeseen events take place e.g the one who looks after may be given a better share.The various hardships of looking after the bedridden patient is immense.Otherwise atleast medical treatments should be foreseen and such expenses should be taken into account.Out of 2 children if one is in India and the other is outside,then the local one is totally burdened.In this context,I do not mean only money but various other inconveniences too.Unfortunately most of the middle class parents are not serious about writing a will and the children are hesitant to talk to them about it.

  3. Thanks a ton Subra sir…

    I would like to share something here with you. I work as a Prop. Trader with a reputed firm in Delhi. As per your guidance i started an SIP of blueship shares. As i work within the broking industry, we are not allowed to trade at the individual level. However, Without caring i opened a Demat account with ICICI Direct.
    I started with the 10 percent rule and invested RS 6600 into few shares. When i checked my Contract note, I was shocked they charged brokerage of 2.5% on the value of 6600.

    I contacted the customer care and they told that sir if the brokerage is les than Rs 50 then we charge 2.5 % of the amount. Sir i request you to kindly share through you website about the charges levied by these HDFC , ICICI kind of companies to those who are not aware of these charges.

    Sagar Chaudhary

  4. Completely out of context Sagar Chaudhary. I still choose to reply to this comment of your because I have never, ever, ever, ever suggested A SIP in direct equity shares.

    When I say SIP I mean a sip in a portfolio of equity shares being managed by a fund house.

    About charges – where did u read that the BFSI works for clients benefit? Just re read.

  5. Making a will is necessary. Till we get the expertise to create a water-tight will (or find a TRUSTED lawyer who can do this), we should create a simple will using simple means. A simple (but non-rigorous) will is better than no will.

    I am evaluating a web-based-will maker (http://indianwillmaker.com/) for my own will making purposes. Till now I am very positively impressed by the website.

  6. Sir, you suggested to take help of a GOOD lawyer.
    How to identify if the lawyer is good? Are there any method to know/understand about the competency of the lawyer?

  7. @Abhijit, I have tried searching lawyers for few other reasons too (apart from making will). It is important to get a good and TRUSTED lawyer. I could not find any method to do a search. It has to be word of mouth. However, unlike doctors, we Indians do not ‘use’ lawyers much (thankfully) and hence I found it extremely difficult to get trusted lawyer with known track record.

    As I said above, I will recommend to prepare a will TODAY using internet/website-I-referred-above. Let us call it will-X. A will with mistakes is better than not having a will. Once you have will-X in your hand, you can now take all the time to find a good lawyer.

  8. I completely agree with Subra Sir he never sugested SIP in direct equity shares .

    BLUE CHIP tohhh dur ki baat hai.

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