In the life time of any person, it is very important for him to write a will. A will is a legal document mentioning his estates, how he wishes his estates to be distributed and in what proportion it should be distributed, after his death. Improper will may be invalid. Any person of common prudence would write a will in order to avoid probate of will. It is usually done so that his loved ones do not fight with each other and to avoid any discrepancies arising among them later on. It gives legal protection of property. Sometimes people misunderstand that estate planning is done only for wealthy people. It is not so. Everyone should write a will before death overtakes him. We also have living will which comes into effect when a person has prolonged illness.
Executor is the person who will be held responsible legally for settling the estate after the death of testator. Some testators choose executors of young age so that they may outlive the testator who can be called in for interpreting the details mentioned in will later. Distributing assets, paying off taxes due by the deceased, settling debts are also the duties of an executor. The executor can refuse to fulfill his obligations by giving a legal declination mentioning he is not interested in serving the will. In advanced countries, banks and accountants are often acted as executors.
Prerequisites of writing a will
- A person must have completed at least 18 years.
- He should be of sound mind.
- Should be written in the presence of at least two persons as witnesses.
- A will should clearly state that it is your will with a valid signature.
- Executor name must be mentioned along with their signatures.
- Should be kept in safe place.
- It is advisable to seek legal advice while executing a will.
A will cannot be valid if it has undergone any changes like obliteration, alteration, interlineation, etc. after the execution by the testator. But it can be validated when such changes are accepted by the testator with a signature made near or opposite to such alterations. It can also be stated in memorandum or any other document, bearing the signature of testator. A will would be valid if it is in writing along with an ink signature. This avoids the presentation of copies other than original ones.
Generally in countries like UK and USA, this job is handed over to professionals who are experts in analyzing the steps required to constitute a legally valid will. They would initially collect all details from banks, other financial and lending institutions, insurance policies, details of bond and securities and the next step is applying for concessions. In UK £130 for estates over £5,000 (nothing for estates below this) plus £1 for each sealed copy is normally charged. After this step they get control over all the assets which makes it easier to pay off the debts and claims outstanding. Eventually, the remaining is distributed to the beneficiaries.