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Simple tips for making a will

August 12, 2009 14:05 IST
It is generally considered that creating a will is a cumbersome and complicated process. On the contrary, it is rather simple and straightforward to create a will.

A will, in simple words, is a document to ensure that your estate (assets without liabilities) is disposed off the way you desire.

In legal language, a will is defined as 'the legal declaration of the intention of the testator, with respect to his property, which he desires to be carried into effect after his death.' But such disposal comes into effect only after the death of the testator.

Making a will is one of the most important and integral part of personal financial planning.

Normally, all of us avoid making it. A will enables each one of us to distribute our property and assets in the manner we wish to distribute it. A will may also reduce the risks of undue litigation, delays, misunderstandings and disputes amongst family members.

A will can be hand-written, or typed, on a piece of paper. It requires no stamp duty or registration, although experts advise that a will must be registered so that it is in safe custody. The will must be attested by two witnesses, one preferably a doctor.

Consider some simple guidelines while creating a will:

Some legal terms:

Estate: The sum of all the assets of a person, less his liabilities becomes his estate. In short, all properties, bank accounts, investments, insurances and collectibles, less the liabilities of a person, are collectively called a person's estate.

Testator: A person who makes his will is a testator.

Executor: A person who executes the contents of the Will after the demise of the testator is called the executor. The executor is the legal representative for all purposes of the deceased person.

Legatee/ Beneficiary: Legatee is a person who inherits the estate. You should state how you wish your assets to be distributed. This includes naming one or more persons whom, you would like to receive all or part of your estate when you die, and who will benefit if your first choice beneficiary (or second or third) predeceases you.

Probate: Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person, specifically resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under the valid will.

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