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When you aren’t around – Succession Planning – Will and Nomination

This article gives an introduction to succession planning – it talks about the importance of nomination, and describes the process of making a Will.

You are a savvy investor, and have made good long term investments in stocks. You have also made investments in debt instruments, gold, real estate, etc. You are alert, and keep an eye on the latest developments. Through your sincerity, you have built a decent corpus.

But what happens if you are not around? Who would your assets go to in case of your death? Shouldn’t you plan for that too, just like you plan all your investments?

Yes, you should. And you can do it through a Will, and through Nominations.

 

What is a Will?

Will, like the name suggests, is a document that describes how you want your assets to be distributed after you. In a will, you describe whom your assets would go to.

A Will is the single biggest tool for succession planning, because this is the document that makes it clear how your belongings would be distributed. Having a Will reduces a lot of trouble for your successors after you are gone.

 

How to make a Will

There is a misconception that a Will has to be on a Stamp Paper, and that it has to be made by a lawyer.

This is not true. A Will can be written, typed or printed by you, and it can be on a plain paper. A Will can be registered, but again, it is not a legal necessity. The only requirement for a Will is that it has to be signed by two witnesses.

Thus, if you want to make a Will, just write it out on a plain paper, and get it signed by two witnesses. That’s it – it is as simple as that!

 

Points to consider while making a Will

Since a Will is all about distributing your assets, the first step is to find your Net Worth. (To know more about Net Worth and to learn how to calculate it, please read “Your Personal Net Worth – Importance and Calculation“) Net Worth tells you what exactly you own, after considering all your liabilities. Thus, it would be a good starting point for making a Will.

Then, you need to decide the entities to which you want to give your assets. They can be people, like your spouse, your kids, or other relatives and friends. Or they can be other entities, like religious and charitable trusts or educational institutions.

Then, you need to decide how much you want to give to each person or entity, and list that in the Will. As far as possible, be precise – list (and describe, in case of things like jewellery) the asset, and the name of the beneficiary against it. Proper listing would avoid a lot of trouble (and litigation!) later on, and would make the process smoother for your beneficiaries.

And after you make the Will, remember to keep it at a safe place – This is very important, so that it is not manipulated or altered in any way. Most people keep the Will either in a locker, or with their lawyer.

 

Who should make a Will?

Many people believe that only old people should prepare a Will. I disagree – I believe that anyone who owns some asset should prepare a Will.

It is like insurance – although young people are less likely to die, they still buy life insurance because death is always uncertain. The same way, a person of any age should prepare a Will.

 

What is Nomination?

Nomination is another way of passing your assets to someone. If you have provided the name of a nominee for an asset, the asset would be passed on to that person after your death without any trouble.

But remember – nomination does not provide ownership of the asset to the nominee. It provides only trusteeship – the nominee would not become the owner of the asset, but would become the trustee of the asset till it is given to its beneficial owner as defined in the Will.

 

Where Nomination can be done?

The facility of nomination is available for most financial assets. It can be done for mutual funds (MFs), demat accounts, bank accounts, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), etc.

So, go ahead and prepare a Will. Also, give the name of a nominee at all the places where nomination facility is available. It would mean that your hard earned money goes only to the people you want it to go to, and would also make the life of your successors a lot easier!

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