‘Will’ is a way to avoid property disputes
Avoiding property disputes and uncertainty is only one of the many advantages of leaving a 'will' behind. Let’s look at some of the other significant benefits as well
Prolonged property disputes are common in our country. While most parties resort to legal action in such a scenario, there have also been many instances of these disputes taking an ugly turn. The conflict often starts when the ‘head’ of the family passes away intestate (without making a will), leaving behind the surviving heirs and family members to fight over the former’s assets. Even if it doesn’t lead to disputes, a person’s intestate death does create a lot of confusion among the heirs. All of these are easily avoidable – that is, if you make a will.
Avoiding property disputes and uncertainty is only one of the many advantages of leaving a ‘will’ behind. Let’s look at some of the other significant benefits as well. Firstly, in the absence of a will, it’s not easy for your successor(s) to claim their inheritance. Tedious legal procedures await them, and it might be months or even years before they get what is rightfully theirs.
Secondly, a will is a must if there are minor children involved. You can appoint a guardian of your choice – someone you trust implicitly – to take care of your children and their inheritance in the will. However, in the event of an intestate death, your children might not end up in the care of the person you wanted.
Last but not the least, assets division in the absence of a will might not happen as you envisioned it. For example, you might have wanted to give your youngest child a particular plot of land or a house, but it might go to your eldest one. Or, you might have wanted to give a larger share of your bank savings to one financially weaker child, but the money might be shared equally. There is no better way than a will to express your desire regarding the division of assets. That’s not all; according to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, inheritance laws differ for males and females. Let’s look at it briefly.
As per this Act, if a Hindu married man dies intestate, his children, wife and mother get an equal share in his property. However, suppose a Hindu married woman passes away without leaving a will, in that case, her assets are divided into three categories: Self-acquired, inherited from her parents and inherited from husband/ father-in-law. The legal successors to her self-acquired assets are her husband and children; in the absence of any, they go to her husband’s side of the family. In short, if a married Hindu woman dies intestate, her parents will not get any share of her hard-earned property. Instances like these go on to emphasize the importance of making a will.
What’s stopping you?
Many people desist from making a will, fearing it’s too complicated a process. But nothing could be far from true. Any Indian adult can make a will if mentally sound and not forced or coerced to create one.
You can either write or type a will, specifying all the details – personal, of your family, property and their division. You just need to ensure that there are two witnesses to the will. They must sign on each page of the document, and you, too, must do the same in their presence.
The author is the Co-founder of EasyInherit, an Inheritance Management Company. View are personal.