Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why you need to write a will - Times Of India

Why you need to write a will - Times Of India

Why you need to write a will
Priya Kapoor, TNN Jul 25, 2011, 05.27am IST

For the past six months, Delhi-based Padma Malhotra and her three children have been struggling to access what is rightfully theirs. They have been unable to lay hands on the financial assets of Malhotra's husband, who passed away in January. The emotional trauma of losing him was followed by despair at not being able to withdraw the money lying in his bank account or access his other investments. This upheaval has been sparked by a single act of omission on the part of Malhotra's husband-writing a will.

"My husband didn't leave a will and had not named a nominee," she says ruefully. So, she and her kids have been running around to prove that they are the only legal heirs. Malhotra's husband has a substantial amount of money in his bank account, but it cannot be withdrawn till the bank is satisfied that there are no other claimants. "We have submitted copies of the death certificate and our ration card as well as a letter of indemnity, but the bank is demanding more documents," says Malhotra.

In Noida, 73-year-old RR Grover is not leaving anything to chance. He has experienced at close quarters how problematic it can be if the head of the family dies without leaving a will. "I don't want my heirs to run around to get what is theirs. So I have drafted a will that spells out how the assets will be distributed among them," he says.

Writing a will

Any adult who wants to distribute his assets can write a will. "Whether you are a daily wage earner or a tycoon , you have the right to dispose of the assets you own according to your wish," says Rajesh Dalmia, a Kolkata-based certified financial planner. A will is an instrument that allows you to do so.

It is not necessary to write it on a stamp paper or even get it registered. You can write a will on plain paper and it will be as legally valid as one prepared by a lawyer. All it should do is identify you as the testator (or the person who is making the will), list out your assets and specify how these are to be distributed. Whether you type it out or write it down, it is a legal document as long as it is signed by you and attested by two witnesses.

"The only requirement is that the will should be legible. If a person is old and frail, he should avoid writing it himself and get it typed to avoid disputes in the future," says Amit Aggarwal, a lawyer with SNG & Partners, a Delhi-based law firm.
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