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Importance of Will

The importance of making a will cannot be overstated. A properly drafted, legally valid Will is the only way to make sure your savings and possessions go the people and causes you care about, after your death. It is not enough simply to tell people your personal wishes. If you die without making a will ‘intestate’ as it’s known, the law has the final say as to who gets what. Making a Will is, therefore, a crucial part of financial planning. Wills apply to self acquired assets and property. Joint Family and Hindu Undivided Family property can not be willed, even by the Karta, expect to the extent of your share in the property.

What may happen if you don't leave a Will

If you die intestate and you have no family or relatives, all your savings and possessions pass to the States. If you have heirs your assets are then shared according to the laws applicable to intestate. Your next of kin would have to apply to the courts for partition of your estate. To do so, they would normally have to seek professional legal advice. This can be expensive and the costs would come from your estate. There can also be delays while everything is being sorted out, and bank accounts may be frozen. To put it simply, without a will you could leave behind a great deal of confusion and stress at a time when your loved ones are in emotional distress, not to mention high legal costs, while rights and shares are being determined by the courts.

Intestacy Law is complex. There are, however, two important things you need to know:

  • If you die intestate, your wife, children and other relatives like mother are entitled to a share of your estate as per applicable law of succession.

  • Many people assume that everything will automatically pass to their husband or wife when they die. This isn’t necessarily the case and property is divided amongst all heirs. Sometimes assets and items with special meaning for those close to you may have to be sold. In some instances, the surviving spouse’s family home may even have to be sold to realize the money that the children, mother or there family members are legally entitled to. If you have no heirs, everything will go to the State after your death. And worse still, it might be usurped by some undeserving and unknown people after your death in the absence of any direction (Will) from you.
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