17 – When must I make a will?

Should I make a will or not? This question might bother many of us. We have considered this question once before. Click here to read the discussion again.

If I do not make a will, my properties will devolve according to the personal law that applies to me. We have seen the manner in which such intestate succession operates. Click here to read again the features of intestate succession.

Of course, I need not make a will if I am happy about the state of affairs arising from intestate succession. Perhaps my heirs will settle all my properties between themselves happily, or with good understanding amongst themselves.

But I must make a will if I wish to make any change in the scheme of intestate succession.

Let us consider the features one by one.

1. Only heirs specified by law inherit, if I do not make a will.

I must make a will if I wish to give properties to anyone other than my heirs. Thus, I must make a will if I wish to

  • give any asset to my brother, sister or father, or any personal servant or assistant, even where I have spouse and children,
  • give any asset or money to any organisation, or to charity, for example, all my copyright in the works I have written to an organisation,
  • give any asset to my own (maternal) relatives if I am a married Hindu woman without children. Click here to know more.

2. All heirs inherit if I do not make a will.

I must make a will if I wish to

  • give my properties to some only, and not others, among the heirs,
  • not give asset to any of my heirs,
  • exclude my spouse if I have a pending divorce proceeding
  • not give any asset to my husband’s relatives if I am a married Hindu woman without children. Click here to know more.

3. All heirs inherit together if I do not make a will.

I must make a will if I wish to

  • give any asset to my brother, but if he dies before me, to my sister,
  • give all my properties to my spouse, but if my spouse dies before me, to my child,
  • give my asset to my unmarried brother, and after his death equally to my other brothers and sisters,

4. Each heir gets his share in each of my assets if I do not make a will.

5. His share in each asset is undivided if I do not make a will.

I must make a will if I wish to give particular asset to particular person, for example:

  • my flat to my son and my house to my daughter.
  • my farm equally among my two sons, and all investments to my spouse
  • the first floor of my bungalow to my elder daughter, and the ground floor to my younger daughter.

6. He gets all the rights over the asset that I had if I do not make a will.

I must make a will if I wish to separate the rights over any asset, for example,

  • to give the asset to my son, but its income to my spouse
  • to give my house to my children, but a right of possession and residence to my spouse.

7. He gets these rights immediately after me if I do not make a will.

I must make a will if I wish to

  • give my house to my wife during her lifetime, and thereafter to my children,
  • give all my investments to my children, but my husband will have the right receive income during his lifetime
  • give my flat to my sister for five years, and to my children thereafter.
  • give my house to my son when he becomes 18,
  • give my farm to my wife, who will use it and take its income during her lifetime, and thereafter to my eldest child,
  • direct payment of a specific amount each month to my sister until she gets married.

8. He takes his share as a “tenant-in-common” if I do not make a will.

I must make a will if I wish to

  • Give to my two sisters equally, but if any of them dies, her share will go to the surviving sister.

9. If I have no close relatives who can succeed as heirs, or ir I have no heirs, I must make a will.

10. I may make a will for other reasons:

  • to keep any asset or amount in trust, giving its income to my specially abled child, or to any other relative, to any institution, or for any religious purpose (a trust must be created under tax related and legal advice),
  • to put conditions, for example: to give my property absolutely to my spouse, but if my spouse remarries, to my brothers and sisters.

The main reason for making a will is, of course, to give particular properties to particular relatives.

Click here for earlier posts.

– Nilima Bhadbhade
https://in.linkedin.com/in/nilima-bhadbhade

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