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Write Your Will, Right NOW!

Most people think one should write a will (do estate planning) when they are old. Almost everyone thinks they should write a will when they are rich or have lot of assets.

"The best time to write a will is just a day or a moment before one dies! But we don't know when we die. We may die anytime. So we should write the will right now!!"

I read or heard the above, the first time, few years ago. I felt it is so simple and strong statement. I started my work on my will right from that moment. It took sometime to understand finer details and way to do it and more than anything else overcome the myths I had (like anyone else) about will writing.

Covid-19 is reminding us the above quote in a harsh way. Lakhs of people getting infected, Tens of thousands scrambling for life and thousands of people succumbing every day - with no discrimination of age, gender, net worth etc. We all have lost some or the other in our circles (family members, relatives, friends and/or colleagues). I have heard few stories (real ones, not fictions!) already where family members struggling to locate and access the finances & assets of the ones who died of Covid. More and more such instances will emerge as families and heirs of the deceased, slowly emerge from the grief of the losing their loved ones.

Now that we know when one should write a will, lets understand who should write will.

  • You don't have to write a will if you DON'T POSSES ANYTHING OF MONEYTARY VALUE. 
  • You don't have to write a will if your are of LESS THAN 18 YEARS OF AGE
In more informal words, you MUST write a will if you have not taken 'Sanyas'. [Well, though renunciation / sanyas doesn't include identification of successors to the assets being renounced, for the peace of the world (to prevent people from fighting for your assets) it's better to officially donate all the wealth to the charity, legally before one takes up sanyas! And even Sanysis, Gurus identify their successors! Well, let me leave all that alone here. It's irrelevant for most of us.]

An young adult who has just started working and who owns just a smartphone, a computer, a two-wheeler, a bank account and few deposits/insurance policies/small savings and some small gold ornaments, should be writing will. As you agree, every young adult will have at least one or the few or all and even more of the above items. Financial Assets (Bank Account, Insurance, Investments) at least have nomination facility (and everyone MUST use nomination facility though it is optional, as Financial Institutes don't insist on nomination mandatorily) but physical assets will not have anything as such. It is undefined who should be inheriting those physical assets in case of your death. For example, you own a basic two wheeler. In case of haven't willed who should be getting it after your death, your family members have to follow extremely tedious and time consuming legal process to inherit something as meagre as that two-wheeler. Even though value is meagre, following the legal process will be necessary, because if the ownership isn't transferred, driving that vehicle will be illegal. Renewing Insurance, Claiming Under Insurance, Paying Taxes / Toll Fees etc will become impossible.

Writing a will could vary from simple to very complex task.

Writing it on a white paper in handwriting is also good enough and getting it professionally PLANNED, DRAFTED AND REGISTERED (and Probating) with the help of ESTATE PLANNER AND a LAWYER is also appropriate. Former is one extreme & no-cost solution and the latter is other extreme & expensive solution. If you are young or have little asset base and rather simple financial life (Ex: salaried) and simple family set-up (nuclear family) and your need is very basic succession plan akin to 'nominating' heirs for your assets (mainly physical assets), self writing of will is good enough solution. Just ensure you write it in unambiguous language and don't miss-out critical ingredients. There are enough number of FREE templates, DIY guidelines, Tools available on the internet, that you can use. Then there are some professional online services which charge a small fees. Then there are full Service, Personalized solution providing Professionals, who charge significant fees depending on the complexity involved.

The objective of this article is merely sensitize you and make you consider this important matter seriously and start working towards it. Ideally, even while you explore which is the best solution suitable for you, I recommend write a will yourself, TODAY! That should be your good starting point at least. It can be as simple as the format below:


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