How To Make A Will In Favour Of Multiple Beneficiaries?
A Will is made by a person when he desires to distribute his wealth to his near and dear ones after his death. Mostly a person gives his property only to his wife and children or if it is a woman, she gives all her assets to her husband and children. But sometimes, you may want to give some share of your assets to your brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin, a friend or even your maid, driver, watchman or any other person whom you like. But when you have to make such a distribution, you may get confused as to how to sort it out.
To begin with, make a list of all your properties. Then make another list of all the beneficiaries to whom you want to give your property, on the other hand. Finally, you should decide who gets what.
Things You Should Know When Making A Will
Clarity – You have to clearly write the name, age, address, relationship of the beneficiary with you and any other details of the beneficiary and mention the full details of the property that you desire to give to the particular beneficiary. Mention the date clearly in words rather than numbers.
Integrity of the Document – Remember that once a property is given to one particular beneficiary, then you can’t allot the same to another beneficiary as a whole. In such instances where you want to give one property to many beneficiaries, you have to clearly draw the lines on how much share of that property goes to each beneficiary. Or if it is to be equally shared, then mention it clearly.
No Ambiguity – The words of the Will should never be ambiguous or confusing or meaningless. This can make the Will void with respect to that particular part which is meaningless or confusing.
No Handwritten Text in a Printed Will – Do not write in on a printed will. Put your signature just below the last line of the Will. Any text below the signature is treated as not a part of the Will and will be discarded. Hence your signature is very important and needs to be carefully placed.
Handwritten Will – Handwritten Wills are legally valid too. But never use different inks if your Will is handwritten, and never use different handwritings in the same document. All this leads to suspicion.
What Should Be Included In The Will?
A Will should have the following necessary details:
Testator Details – Name, age, address details of the person making the Will
Beneficiary Details – In case of multiple beneficiaries, the details of each beneficiary like name, age, address, relationship of the beneficiary with the Testator.
Property Details – The details of the properties which the testator wants to give to his beneficiaries under his Will like the description, the registration number, the date of registration and whether it is his self acquired property etc. If it is a movable property, then the details and description of each should be clearly and individually mentioned.
Specific Assets – Any specific assets like a silver Ganesha idol or a golden utensil etc should be specifically described.
Guardian for Minors – If the Testator wishes to give his property to any beneficiary who is a minor, then definitely he should appoint a guardian who will take care of the minor’s property till the minor attains majority.
Executor of the Will – The Testator should appoint an Executor to his Will. An Executor is a person who shall implement the Will after the Testator’s death.
Signature and Date – The Will should be clearly dated and signed by the Testator at the place in the document just below the last sentence in the document.
Exclusions – The Testator cannot give any property that is joint family property or ancestral property that is common to many other members too. Such a Will becomes void.
How To Make The Will Legally Valid?
These are the points you have to do while making the Will
Drafting – Draft your Will on a plain paper or Stamp paper. The Will should be either handwritten or printed. The Will should not be ambiguous and should not have incomplete statements or contradicting statements.
Signature – The Testator should sign the Will just below the last sentence in order to avoid any inclusions in between. Any text placed below the signature shall not be taken as part of the Will, hence make sure you sign only after including all details.
Witness – Two witnesses should sign at the end of the document stating that they have witnessed the Testator sign the Will. A Will signed in the absence of witnesses becomes legally invalid.
Keeping it Safe – After signatures, the Will becomes legally valid. Make sure to keep it in a safe locker, or entrust with the Lawyer or an Executor who is reliable.
Registration Of The Will
There is no need to register the Will. But a registered Will always helps in clearing any future legal issues among the heirs. Once registered, no one can question the validity and authenticity of the Will or the Testator. To register a Will, you need to go to a nearby Sub-Registrar office and register the Will free of cost.
If You Don’t Have A Will
The main reason to make a Will is to avoid all sorts of legal disputes and quarrels among the family members or near and dear ones of the deceased person if he has left any movable or immovable property behind.
A Will by the owner of the property always depicts a clear picture as to how the distribution is done.
Imagine there are several properties and several heirs to it. These can happen:
All start claiming their portion of share in the properties. Distribution process becomes very difficult if the heirs are not willing to compromise with each other.
Relationships may get strained, lot of frustration among family members resulting in unnecessary arguments and hard feelings.
All this take the whole group to the doorstep of civil courts, which are already flooded with cases. Litigations take years to settle and in the meantime property may suffer from lack of maintenance and trespassers.
In case of debts and liabilities of the deceased, the legal heirs may have to bear the burden.
How Are Assets Distributed In The Absence Of A Will?
If a person dies without making a Will then all his properties get distributed to his legal heirs according to the personal succession laws, based on the religion.
If there are no legal heirs in the first degree for the deceased, then the properties can go to the second degree of legal heirs and finally if no legal heirs at all then the State would take the property.
The reason for all this?? Just a matter of few minutes was not spared by the deceased to make a proper Will. Hence it is very important that each individual in the society who has started earning and made some properties or bank balance, should definitely make a will irrespective of whether you are 25 or 65.
How To Protect Your Dear Ones Through A Life Interest Clause?
Creating a life interest in any of your properties in favour of any beneficiary is a good option to avoid the beneficiary from being thrown out of the property at any time. To avoid such situations it is always better to create an interest for life in favour of the beneficiary in the property. If a life interest is created on any property then it allows that particular beneficiary to live and enjoy the property till his or her death. The property on which such a life interest is created cannot be sold, mortgaged or alienated by any methods by the beneficiary himself or by any other person. Hence a life interest is usually created in the following cases:
where a husband leaves behind his widow and wishes that his wife should be safe and secured till her death in the house she lives.
where a parent leaves behind a mentally incapacitated son or daughter who cannot enter into any property transactions and wishes that their disabled son or daughter is safe and secure till the end in the property with life interest.
How To Provide Your Dear Ones With Annuity-A Regular Income After Your Death?
While making a Will you can include certain important and valid clauses that can ensure that any of the needy beneficiaries are provided a source of income throughout their life from any of your properties or assets. Such a regular payment made to a beneficiary in regular intervals of time like monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually from the assets of the Testator is termed “Annuity”.
When you make an Annuity clause you have to do the following:
Describe in detail the provision of the Annuity that is being made to the beneficiary
Name, age, address and relationship of the beneficiary in whose favour Annuity is made.
The details of the particular source of assets from which the Annuity has to be paid.
To clear any debts or liabilities on the property from which Annuity is to be paid and ensure that there are no charges on the property.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. My father executed a Will in my favour for all his share in the joint family property. Is it valid? My brother says he can’t give away the joint family property in the Will and that even my brother has a right to the property. Is it right? This property belonged to my great great grandfather and came down lineage to my father through partition of joint family property.
A: Since this property was not self-acquired by your father or grandfather, and has been passed through generations and landed with your father through a partition of the joint family property, this is to be considered as ancestral property. Hence your brother is right in claiming his share from it. Your father’s Will becomes void.
Q2. I want to make a Will. I am only 32 years unmarried. Can I make a Will in favour of my parents, brother and Charity since I have some property that’s self-acquired. And what happens when I get married? Will this Will get cancelled automatically?
A: If you are a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Jain your Will continues to be valid even after marriage. But if you are a Christian, your Will becomes void on your marriage. In any case, since you will have children and wife once you get married, it is advised that you make a new Will including even your wife and children as beneficiaries. Creation of a new Will automatically revokes or cancels the old Will.
Q3. My wife and I are living in a house built by me through my earnings. Now we are getting aged. We have 2 sons and a daughter. I have given most of my wealth to my children. Now only this house is remaining. I want to make a Will such that my wife can stay in this house without it being sold till her death. Only after her death, my children should get this property. My wife is not capable of managing property matters and hence I fear she may be driven out if this gets sold.
A: Yes, your thinking is very correct. Many people don’t know this. You can create a life interest on the house in favour of your wife. And make it clear that only after your wife’s death your children shall get the property. Also, your wife or any other person cannot sell, rent out, mortgage or alienate the property in any ways during her lifetime.
Do You Want To Make Changes To Your Will?
After making a Will sometimes you may feel that you need to add, delete, substitute or modify any of the clauses or any name or an address or any other details in your Will. But you cannot make these changes in the Will document directly since it becomes invalid.
So how to make changes in your Will?
You have to make a separate document termed “Codicil” either on a plain paper or Stamp paper.
Mention the date of the Codicil clearly in words.
Sign the Codicil just below the last line without leaving any space between the signature and the last line.
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If you know someone who needs to prepare a Will, don’t forget to share this with them. Good luck!