There are 3 ways you can write a will:

  1. Go to the Internet and download a will format. Fill up the details, take a printout get it signed by 2 people and leave it in your cupboard, and maybe a scanned copy in your gmail account. Brilliant, if nothing goes wrong.
  2. Go to a lawyer who will do the same thing for you. Long live Mr. Bhandari your book is very useful all of us know how to do a nice copy paste of your drafting book and we can create a will. Works if nobody challenges anything. Pay him his fee of Rs. 5000 for the nice cut paste and printing. Of course registration costs, etc.
  3. Go to a good lawyer who will sit with you, your financial planner, chartered accountant, and ask you tons of questions. Then he will draft the will for you, redraft it, and then register it for you. He is more likely to charge you Rs. 100,000 for the efforts.

The choice is all yours. I have seen all 3 happening, and all have their plus and minus.

Let me tell you why a pro spends so much time on what looks like a simple cut and paste job. It is because of the following:

  • Children may have a conflict of interest between them and the family business, this has to be sorted out.
  • Siblings may have very different views about managing an inheritance.
  • You may not want to lose your inheritance to a divorce fight
  • how do you want your wealth to be used in the future? What would make you happy? Who will receive your wealth? Will it be fair or equitable in your mind? Do you have charitable intentions? Do you own a business that will be sold or run by heirs?You do not want your children to lose money fighting a frivolous claim

So you, the owner, has to answer the following questions honestly:

  • how should your wealth be used after your death?
  • do you have any specific way how it cannot be used?
  • what would make you happy..but would it be very restrictive or simply stupid with passage of time?
  • How clairvoyant are you?
  • Who will receive your wealth?
  • Are there some non family inheritors?
  • Will your children pass on those assets without a hassle or will you want to create a trust even when you are alive?
  • Will it be fair or equitable in your mind?
  • Do you wish to leave some money for charity?
  • Who is to inherit your business?

It does not sound so simple, right?

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  1. Article for super rich (Subra’s clients) :):):)
    For us folk there is hardly anything to be inherited for which a will is needed.

    Dont get me wrong

  2. In any case one must make a will. very simple if you do not have complex set of assets. For a common man, just list the assets and state how you want them handled after you are no more. It is important to ensure both husband and wife get taken care of. I have seen my aunty, who was not literate, suffer when her husband died leaving all assets to their children.
    I have done a joint will and asked children to sign as witness. Just keep the document safe. May not be necessary to register it.

  3. I did a will using a good attorney and registered it . It cost 10K .
    A good attorney and registration both are very much necessary .

    Rajeev ,

    Joint will cannot be modified by surviving spouse and asking children to witness is not a good idea . Beneficiary cannot be witness .

  4. Question: I have 1 kid and wife. No parents and neither any inheritance from parents/family money. All money earned is mine only. No extra or pre marital affairs etc
    I want to distribute money equally to kid and wife (only wife is also ok – I trust her) – do I need a will? To me, it looks like there is no need.

  5. i need lots lots lots more data to be able to answer. Subramoney.com is just a website for asking questions..I am more like Nachiketa or if you wish Plato.

    It is for you to go and find the answers. ‘Kenoupanishad’ 🙂

  6. Surya,

    Joint will can be modified by survivor when you mention that in the joint will.

    Children can very well be witnesses.

  7. please take the article and the comments just as a reminder to ask an expert. I am not a fee charging will making lawyer and am not responsible for any DIY getting in trouble. Just a caveat. Law is a complicated matter, those who think they understand it, be my guest.

  8. Rajeev , Subra

    I agree with subra . Law is very complicated and every word of a will needs to be carefully drafted . It took us multiple draft revisions to come to the final version . You need to understand Hindu succession law to write a will . In case of property , you may need a probate even for registered will . I think it is better for both spouse to write individual will and get it registered .

  9. It is preferred to have will, as it save your loved one to get various certificate for getting your property targeted, deposits, share etc, easily transferred.

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