This article was written by Arpita Sengupta from NUJS Kolkata.
Wills have always been regarded as either an instrument of satisfaction (for those loved ones who inherit the deceased’s property) or of disappointment (and those people who are left out from inheriting a share in the deceased’s property). However, getting a will drafted is forever a matter of great concern for the testator. During my internships under lawyers and in law firms, I have come across people in dire need for legal advice with regard to making of a will. Well, making a “WILL” will no longer be a headache. Here is a simple guide for making a will.
A STEP BY STEP GUIDE FOR MAKING A WILL:
Making a will can become a very simple process. Just follow these steps and your ‘will’ will be complete.
1) Title of the Document: It should be clearly states that the document is the LAST TESTAMENT.
2) The name of the testator should be mentioned accurately as is there in his birth certificate or any valid photo identity. The testator should specify his age and address.
3) The testator should make a declaration that the he is making the will in his full senses and not under duress or undue influence.
4) The testator should name an executor of the will. An executor is one who carries out the points that are set out in the will.
5) Parents can appoint a guardian for their minor children by way of a will.
6) The will should have the details of the assets that the testator possesses. It should clearly specify the beneficiary of each asset.
7) A will should be as unambiguous as possible. For instance, a person has a house at 12, Harry Potter Road, Bangalore. In his will, he mentions that his property at 12, Harry Potter Road, Bangalore will go to Aileen. Unfortunately, both his wife and his niece’s name is Aileen. Due to lack of clarity as to which Aileen does the will refer to, there may arise huge confusion and quarrels with respect to the property.
8) The will should end with the signature of the accused and the date in which the testament is made.
9) The signature of the testator should be attested by at least two witnesses. Such attestation by a witness is of immense importance. It is a proof of authenticity of the will.
10) Registration of a will is not a compulsion. One may get his will registered. It simply adds to the genuineness of the will. It also has another advantage. A registered will is kept with the Registrar. So it is kept at a relatively safer place and any chances of tampering with the will is minimized.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE MAKING A WILL:
Now that you know the steps to make a will, it is really important to know certain facts about making a will.
1) It is always good to consult a lawyer to check your will. A legal person like a lawyer will be aware of the necessities of a will and he will be able to point out the infirmities in the will.
2) Many a times, the issue of making a will during an unsound phase is brought up when an altercations arises due to the will. Such altercations may be avoided if one makes a will keeping a doctor as a witness.
3) A will should be stored in a safe place so that there are no chances of it getting stolen, tampered or destroyed.
4) A will should be written on a good quality paper and in a neat handwriting. Any ambiguity due to illegible handwriting should be avoided. If possible, a person should type out his will and then sign it.
5) A will is not an unchangeable document. So do not be scared that you cannot change your will once it is made. A will can be altered any time during the testator’s lifetime.
6) One should never forget to put a date on their will. The date signifies whether it is the last will or not in cases where a person has made multiple wills.
7) Many a times, a testator decided to sell off a part of his property during his lifetime. In case the assets of the testator change, he should ensure that he changes his will as well.
Every person should make a will. A will is of extreme importance. Do not think of it as an evil document. It is you and your family’s safeguard.