With the number of corona-infected cases rising across the world, preparing a Will is something many should consider.
The prevailing Covid-19 crisis has heightened the risks associated with our lives. In the absence of a proper cure or vaccine, precaution is the only way to avoid getting infected by the deadly virus. When it comes to taking precautions against the coronavirus, people are wearing protective gear and exercising social distancing norms. However, a few are going a step further and preparing their will to ensure their legal heirs do not face any difficulty in inheriting their wealth and property in case they succumb to the virus. If there are multiple heirs, a Will would also provide the much-needed clarity about who gets what and avoid possibilities of any legal disputes later. In fact, with the number of corona-infected cases rising across the world, preparing a Will is something many should consider.
I’ve highlighted a few crucial points that you should keep in mind if you’re planning to prepare your Will in the current scenario.
1. List out the assets
Preparing a Will requires calm nerves and a lot of analytical thinking. So, the first advice would be not to prepare your Will in a hurry. Take your time to list all your assets, including movable and immovable properties, investments, and cash among other assets. Most of the investments are now held in electronic form, so you must extract records of such investments and mention them in your Will, else your nominated heirs may miss out on the actual wealth that you want them to possess after your demise.
2. Take help of a legal expert
It’s very important to understand which type of assets you can pass on to your legal heirs through your Will. All assets that you have earned, bought or created in your lifetime, like property, land, car, jewellery, cash, etc. can be included in your will and passed on to whosoever you want. You can include loans and other liabilities too in your Will. However, you should be careful while including an inherited asset in your Will as that could be challenged by the claimants. As such, it’s critical to take legal help to get complete clarity on what can and cannot be included in your Will to lessen the chances of a legal dispute later.
3. Get the Will registered
Getting a Will registered can help in ensuring its safety from perils like tampering and theft. A registered Will is more authentic, and it’s not easy to challenge its veracity. However, you should register a Will only when you are completely sure that you won’t be making any further changes in it. Making a change in a Will could be a cumbersome process once it is registered.
4. Be mindful about how to revise your Will
That being said, there are many occasions when people would want to make a change in their Will. These could be adding a new asset or a new legal heir in the Will, or something else. If there are minor changes, you can do it through supplementary statements, and for making substantial changes, you can write a new Will that would supersede the previous version. However, don’t forget to mention the dates when writing or revising your Will.
5. Keep your close ones and legal heirs informed about your Will
Always write the Will while keeping your close ones informed. Simply because if you die and no one knows about the existence of your Will, the objective of writing the testament would not get accomplished.
In conclusion, succession planning should ideally be a continuous process and not a panic-stricken exercise over a sudden development like the Covid-19 outbreak. It is also essential to update your Will from time to time as per the changes in your family setup and your wealth.
(The author is CEO, BankBazaar.com)