Family disputes often crop up due to the absence of a will. Make a will to ensure proper wealth distribution to all after your demise, and to minimize high expenses and unnecessary disagreements within your family.
The true importance of a will in India is not just ensuring the smooth succession and transfer of one’s assets and accumulated wealth. Rather, drafting a will is what essentially helps steer clear of family disputes in the future. Too many families have entered into disputes related to inheritance of assets and division of the same, due to the key individual not writing a will, before their demise.
As a result, drafting wills is the legal route required to successfully keep family disputes at bay, in later years. Why should you risk a scenario in the future where, without any clear will, your children and other relatives contest each other legally and squabble over inheritances? This will not only lead to bad relations within the family, but also spill over into the public domain, while all parties incur sizable legal costs in the bargain.
Some key things to know about a will –
Making a will is what will help you ensure the distribution of assets in the future between family members, without any scope for disputes or legal delays and other issues.
Here are some other facts to know regarding one’s will:
- A person dying intestate or without any will, can have his/ her assets and wealth distributed, based on the Succession Laws which are applicable like Hindu Succession Act, Indian Succession Act, and so on
- These laws mandate a fixed proportion for asset distribution amongst all or many family members, which may not be as per the deceased’s wishes
- Any Succession Certificate or Letter of Administration needed by the court may lead to delays, legal disputes amongst family members and high expenditure
- In a will, one can nominate the minor children as beneficiaries; and in the event of death, a nominated guardian will safeguard their share of the wealth. A trust can also be created for protection of legal heirs, who are minor children
- A legal heir basically means the individual who has the entitlement to succeed to all the assets of the person deceased, as per the Will or as per Succession laws. Additionally, as per Hindu Succession Act, in the absence of a Will, property will be distributed equally among Class 1 heirs, for example: for a male, it will be his Mother, Spouse and all children (including married daughter); and if there is no such Class 1 heir available, then amongst Class 2 heirs. In case of there being no Class 2 heirs, properties will be given to Agnates and then Cognates. If none of the above are available, then the Government takes over all assets in such cases
Making a will is all you need to do
You should remember that in case of no Will, a Succession Certificate or Letter of Administration or Legal Heirship Certificate is the only way to establish the legal heir of any individual. This leaves the family in a situation open to legal hassles, expenses, and many a time, more reasons for dispute. Additionally, one must note that a nominee under Nomination is merely a trustee, and they will have to hand over the wealth to the legal beneficiary/ heir, at a later point of time.
As a result, instead of having nominees to avoid making your Will, put some time and effort to make a Will yourself, even if you are relatively younger. Life is unpredictable! It is always best to have mechanisms that keep family disputes firmly at bay in the future, through a clearly defined and legal system of asset distribution, i.e. ‘your will’.