The only thing predictable about life is that it is unpredictable! We all know this but how much and what do we do to be prepared for it? Since the future is unknown and somehow as human beings we have a tendency to put away or stay away from the unknown, we also put away very important things like writing a Will.
Death is something nobody wants to talk about since it is very unpleasant. And to top it, plan for death is considered almost morbid if anyone ever spoke about it. This is despite the fact that over 16% of the population in India is over 50 years of age.
It is no wonder that the number of people who have written a Will is a very small percentage of earning /saving population. There is a general perception that Will writing is only for the old or that it is for the rich. This perception is baseless. Anybody who has or has had any kind of assets or savings or earns money needs to write a Will.
The recent Supreme Court judgment legalizing a “living will” has drawn urgent attention to the fact that we need to set certain ground rules for ourselves to decide the way in which we want to be treated if we are not in the physical or mental capacity to do so.
So let’s see some of the advantages of writing a Will
- A Will makes sure that the estate is distributed as per the persons’ wishes. After all it is hard earned money. In case a person passes on without a Will it is known as dying intestate. In that case the laws of the land will determine where and how the estate is distributed. In India, for example, the personal law applicable to the deceased person would determine how the estate will be distributed. The personal law applicable depends on the person’s religion or faith.
- The heirs will be spared a huge amount of paperwork and effort by making of a Will. A Will makes it easier to transfer the assets, investments, property etc. to the heirs.
- The manner in which one would want to distribute their assets can be ensured by making a Will. For example for any reason if equal distribution is not to be followed between the children then Will is the only way of ensuring the assets get distributed as desired. This may be especially true if one has special needs child/children and want to provide more for them.
- In case a person/couple passes away at the same time leaving behind minor children, they can appoint guardians through the Will who they would like to take charge of the minor children. A Will makes sure that the appointed guardians are people who they can trust.
- Currently there is no inheritance tax or estate tax in India. But who knows? There is a talk that it may be reintroduced. A proper estate planning would need to be done so that a substantial portion of the estate is not eaten up by taxes.
- A living Will ensures that your directions on the manner in which you would want to be treated are documented and followed in events where you lose the physical or mental capacity to decide for yourself.
- A Will would also be able to capture a person’s desire to give back to society by way of donating organs etc.
We imagine that Will writing is only for the rich people. But we are also forgetting the fact that India has the largest growth in the number of millionaires. Anybody who is over 21 and had any kind of asset – small or big, shares or property, has to make sure that they have written a Will.
Having seen the importance of making Wills we look at the process of making a Will
Keep visiting this blog to read about it…..