In this fast paced life, have you ever wondered why you should make a will? Most people believe that in case of death of a man, his wealth passes to his wife. Many a time, people defer or just do not make wills because they feel that by having nominees, their wealth can be passed on easily to their loved ones once they pass away. However, this is not true. A nominee is not necessarily the legal heir of a person’s wealth. In the absence of a will, Indian succession laws will be applicable. The only way to pass on wealth in the way you want is through a will.
Will super cedes not only Nominations but also the Hindu Succession Act etc.
This does not mean that Nominations are not required. You need both Nominations and Wills for a smooth transfer of the assets. Transferring assets involves
1) Nomination involves smooth transfer of assets from banks and financial institutions to the nominee of the deceased person
2) Will ensures smooth transfer as per the persons wish to the legal heirs
A will is a legal declaration of a person’s intention with respect to his /her property which is to be carried out after his/her death. The will operates only after the death of a person. Wills are made by individuals and can be changed after being made. Wills can be contested. It is best to keep the details of the will confidential and not discuss it with anybody other than your lawyer.
It is best to have a will drafted by a lawyer. A will may or may not be registered though it is advisable to do so. In case of absence of a will, the following rules will broadly apply for passing on a person’s financial legacy:
For Hindus :
Equally among class 1 heir including wife kids and mother, if they are not there then father, brother os sister.
Equally among class 1 heir, otherwise husband's heirs can claim stake
In case of Muslims, 50% of the financial assets of a man go to his wife and the balance are split between his children. Muslims follow Sharia laws which have forced heirship i.e. individuals cannot leave their estate as per their wish.
So in case of a woman who is issueless and husband is also no more, the right to her property on her death would be to her mother-in –law followed by father-in-law/brother-in-law/sister-in-law. Only if they above mentioned people are not there, would her property go to her parents or siblings!
We have seen many cases of many families which get into disputes mainly because succession was not clearly defined. Many women are also under the misconception that they do not need to write a will and most women have never considered succession planning. Irrespective of whether you are a working woman or homemaker or single, it is imperative you plan succession of your assets. In case of women with children, your assets can provide financial security for your children in case your husband decides to remarry in the unfortunate event of your death. For single women, it is imperative that you make a will and keep the details of the same confidential.
We work very hard in our lifetime to increase our assets and provide financial security to our children. Wouldn’t it be then good to also ensure that they are the beneficiaries of the legacy created by us.
Irrespective of your age make a will, ensure that all accounts and investments have nominees. Try as far as possible that the nominee and the Will is in favor of the same person to make execution and processing simple.
Mrin Agarwal & Rima H
Founders and Trainers Womantra