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.
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