Succession planning – Wills

This is the English translation of the first article of the series that was published in Lok Satta on 10th September 2018.

When one speaks about wills, the first reaction is of fear and the question that is invariably asked “Is everything fine?”. But why so? This is on account of lack of knowledge prevalent in our society today.  The general perception is, wills are to be written when one is old or is terminally ill. But this understanding is completely wrong! Every adult person as soon as he/she acquires movable or immovable assets should consider writing a will. If this is done one can manage his wealth in the best possible way. 

Wills is an instrument that is made to distribute one’s wealth after the demise of the person making it. Will is also called as testamentary disposition. Wills is only way in which a person can distribute his wealth as per his desire. One can give away his/her property even to a stranger easily through this document. Things [items] having emotional and sentimental value can be distributed to persons who understand the importance of such items, value it and appreciate them. Similarly, one can also make sufficient provisions for their beloved ones. Minor children can be entrusted to a guardian, appropriate and trusted by the testator. Not only this even one’s funeral expenses can be provided for in a will. One can be rest assured that after them the distribution of their wealth shall take place in the manner as per their desire. One can also appoint a trusted person as an executor. For the close relatives, a will reduces the agony of the tedious process and eases the process of distribution of wealth. In case a will is not made the distribution of wealth will be as per the succession laws applicable to such person. In such an event, often the distribution of wealth may be against the wishes of the deceased person and may go to individuals to whom one does not wish to bequeath. Moreover, a will can be made without incurring a major amount of money. A will is made in a simple and easy language, due to which any common man can understand it and execute it smoothly.

Of late, the concept of living wills is widely discussed. Are wills and living wills similar or one and the same thing? These questions are on top of people minds. Let’s understand the concept of living wills in brief. A living will a document that primarily states what decisions related to medical treatment are to be taken when you are terminally ill. If one wants to avoid prolonged and pain full life or a life totally dependent on medical instrument and assistance one should make a living will. It is the document that informs both the loved ones and the medical fraternity of your instructions, wishes pertaining to what  they should follow under such an eventuality.  Execution of this document is done when one is alive but incapable of having an effective communication with others. This document provides invaluable guidance to doctors and close relatives thereby eliminating the mental agony and stress that they go through in case they have to take decisions for you. This document also can be prepared easily by oneself. Living Will and Wills can be made online nowadays.