1. How To Make A Will?

A will is a document written by a living person stating his/her wishes to be executed after his/her death. Primarily a Will states how the writer’s assets are to be distributed after discharging his/her liability. A person who writes a Will is called Testator.

To write a Will the following key elements need to be considered:

(1) What do you have to give? – a list of your assets
(2) Who do you want to give them to? – the beneficiaries of your will
(3) Who will carry out your wishes once you are gone? – Your executor.

Listed below are links to some of the basic information you will need to do your will. This information includes facts about wills, the brochure A Guide to Planning Your Will, bequest language to use.

Having this information will allow you to complete your planning more easily.

1. A Guide to Planning your Will
2. Your Will Five key questions
3. Will Fact Sheet
4. Bequest Language
5. A typical format of a Will
6. Planned Gift notification Form

How to make a will

1.1 A Guide to Planning your Will

Making your Will is a wise and sensible step. Without a Will the savings, investments, and other property you leave must be distributed according to law, a necessarily rigid and impersonal procedure.
No matter how strong your feelings about which people and organizations you wish to benefit from your estate, your wishes cannot be honored unless you make a Will.

This Guide offers practical thoughts on planning. It is not a guide to writing a Will. That is a job you should entrust, preferably, to an attorney who is familiar with laws and procedures. Don’t try to draft your own Will and don’t copy someone else’s. Errors in the wording or execution of even the simplest Will could have expensive consequences for your heirs.

A good beginning would be to collect the following information.

Spiritual Eye

Step 1: List the Assets you own
(a) Moveable properties such as cash, stocks, bonds, policies and so on which will keep changing till the demise of the person;
(b) Immoveable properties, such as land, apartments, which are less likely to change; and
(c) Lastly a bucket comprising jewellery, family heirlooms, which have sentimental value for the family.

In respect of moveable properties, it may be wise to include the heir to be added as a joint account holder / nominee such that transmission/transfer of the asset post your demise is a smoother process.

With respect to immoveable properties, it would be wise to leave specific properties to a particular individual, rather than leaving it to two or more persons jointly to prevent disputes among heirs over the management of such properties. If it is not possible to segregate individual properties to individual heirs, then it can be provided in the Will as to how the heirs can distribute the properties among themselves. For example one way would be to state in the Will that one party can buy out the other heir at market value or at a pre-fixed price. It must be noted that a nomination for a house/flat with a housing society only makes the nominee a trustee of the property (post the owner’s demise) and not the legal heir unless the nominee’s name is specified in the Will as the heir to that property. In respect of heirlooms which have sentimental value, not only is it important to mention the heir to a specific heirloom, it may also be wise to mention why such person should receive it.

Step 2: List down your liabilities and subtract the total liabilities from the Total value of Assets
It is also important to bear in mind that the liabilities of the person would be adjusted against the overall estate (assets) of the person thereby reducing it to some extent. Consequently, the testator should keep this in mind while distributing his/her assets in the will.

Estate = Total assets – Total Liabilities

Names and ages of family members and their relationship to you.

Special circumstances
Does any member of the family require special care because of poor health? Are you expecting to receive an inheritance. . . or sell a business . . or retire in the near future?

What a Will does and does not control
Your Estate, generally speaking, consists of everything you own. However, certain types of properties are not usually governed by the terms of a Will. Please Note – Life insurance, death benefits from pension plans and funds that have accumulated in other retirement plans generally pass directly to named beneficiaries. Immoveable property held in joint names with right of survivorship normally passes directly to the surviving owner. Although your Will does not control these elements of your Estate, you will want to keep in mind the amount of such property and who will get it as you consider the way you wish to divide or distribute the rest of your properties.

In your Will you can leave specific items to specific beneficiaries. You can make cash gifts. You can leave certain beneficiaries a life income. Finally, you can designate certain people or organizations to receive shares of your “residuary estate”. This term simply means everything your Will has not otherwise disposed of.

Certainly the overall plan of your Will should be uniquely yours, reflecting your own hopes and concerns for those whom you wish to benefit. Never-the-less, one practical point is worth remembering. In our modern era, market values of securities and other property often fluctuate rapidly. And so, while you can estimate the size of your Estate today, it is far harder to guess what its size might be in the future. You might leave much more – or less – than now seems likely. For this reason, you may wish to make major gifts in the form of shares or percentages of your residuary estate.

Personal effects

Home furnishings, jewellery, hobby equipment, automobiles, and other articles of personal use are usually left outright to particular members of the family, or to friends. If you don’t say who is to get such items, they become part of your residuary estate / Networth.

Cash gifts

Wills often contain bequests of stated amounts of money to specified individuals or charities. However, there’s a risk that the overall results of a Will could be distorted if the Will contains a high volume of cash bequests and the estate proves smaller than anticipated. As already mentioned, bequests that are large in proportion to the value of what you now own might better be made as shares of your residuary estate.

Gifts of income

You may wish to leave a relative or friend a life income rather than a lump sum of money. Your Will can accomplish this by placing money, securities or other income-producing property in trust for that person’s life benefit. Your Will also may say who is to receive the trust fund at the death of the income beneficiary; his or her children, perhaps. In the event an income beneficiary leaves no children, you may wish to name a charity to receive the fund.

Home & Other Real Estate

Real estate may be left to one or more beneficiaries outright or placed in trust for their benefit. Or you may direct your executor to sell real estate and add the proceeds to your residuary estate.

Your Business

If you own all or part of a business, do you wish your interest sold, or do you wish to leave it to a son, daughter or other relative? As you note your preference, be forewarned that special planning may be needed to carry out your intentions.
If the business interest is to be sold at a fair price, you may want to establish a formal agreement with other partners or stockholders, or with key employees. If the business interest is to stay in the family, you should make plans for adequate successor management and examine the impact that taxes could have upon your estate.

Your Residuary Estate

As earlier mentioned, your residuary estate will consist of everything not otherwise disposed of. You may name one or more beneficiaries to share in your residuary estate. Their shares may be left outright or in trust, and may be equal or unequal. For example, a hypothetical Will might divide the residuary estate into twelve shares, leaving four to a sister, two to a niece, two to a nephew, one share to an old friend, and the three remaining shares to one or more charities.
As you make note of your intentions, also consider to whom each individual beneficiary’s shares should go if that beneficiary should fail to survive you.

Gifts to Young Children

When a Will leaves sizable sums outright to minor children, a guardian must be appointed to manage the child’s inheritance until he or she comes of age.
Such complications can be eliminated by leaving a minor’s share of your estate in trust and instructing the trustee to administer the inheritance and use it for the child’s education and support. Funds not needed can be turned over to the beneficiary at 21, or at a later age specified in your Will.

One final fact about Wills

You can change your Will whenever you wish. Indeed, you should resolve to review the Will from time to time and have it updated as necessary. Major changes in either your family circumstances or the size and nature of your estate may make revisions advisable.

Some people put off making a Will because they’re waiting for life to settle down. It never does! They look forward to a time free of unresolved family concerns, pending business decisions, and so on. Unfortunately, such a time rarely arrives, and the Will is never made.

As a practical matter, the best possible time to take care of your Will is now. Do the best job you can, secure in the knowledge that additions or revisions can be made in years to come.

1.2 Your Will Five Key Questions

One of the most important papers you will ever sign is your Will. You will need to protect it and to make sure that this statement of your best intentions toward those you care the most about will do the job that it was designed to do. Periodically (every 5 to 7 years) you should review it to determine if it makes sense in light of changing family and financial circumstances. When you do, keep these questions in mind:

Green Grass

The testator should keep the will at a place where it can be easily found, such as in the cupboard as well as a copy of the Will should be left with the legal advisors. Another solution for married couples is to keep the wife’s Will in the husband’s safe deposit box, and his Will in hers. It may be a good idea to have two to three copies of the Will.

Next, the Will maker needs to identify two individuals who are not receiving any part of the assets under the Will but who are willing to testify that they saw the testator execute the will in front of them. They may also have to confirm that the person was of a sound mind and wrote the will out of his/her own free will. These persons are called attesting witnesses and typically, lawyers, doctors, CAs are chosen to do the same. It is important to include the name, address and telephone number of the person in the Will itself so that the heirs have no difficulty in tracing the attesting witnesses. If the testator is of an advanced age, a fitness certificate from a registered doctor can also be included and attached to the Will.

While it is not mandatory to register a Will, in case the testator expects that the heirs are likely to challenge the Will, it may be a good idea to do so. The testator may also video-graph the Will where the testator himself reads out the Will before a camera. All these acts add towards reducing the challenge to the Will and making it stronger.

Another important issue would be to identify person(s) who is/are close confidante(s), who would be willing to act as executor(s) of the Will. An executor of a Will is entrusted with the task of collecting the assets of a person, discharging the liabilities from such assets and thereafter distributing the same as per the Will. This process is called administration of the Will. Ideally, the executor chosen should be a trusted person and also younger than the testator to reduce the chances of the executor dying before the testator. The executor dying before the testator would increase complexities by making it necessary for the heirs to appoint another administrator. Another important point is that the administration may become complex process if the size of Estate is large. If you have named a family member or friend, be sure to give them authorization to seek professional help in settling the estate. Be sure to name a successor executor in case your first choice dies or declines to serve for personal reasons.

Example: In the last years of his life a person bought 10,000 shares of a company that he believed had great potential. He strongly advised his executors not to sell the shares, so they didn’t. As it turned out, the company failed a few years after his death, the shares became worthless, and his would-be heirs were left holding an empty bag. Conclusion: It is a mistake to bind your executor’s hands too tightly. There is no way to predict today what will happen tomorrow or the next year, especially in the world of finances and the stock market.

There is a sixth question about your Will we need to ask:

Does it leave a bequest to charity? Many people believe that a Will should be the last true reflection of that person’s life. It is also the last opportunity to remember those favourite charities which captured your interests, which you truly enjoyed supporting with contributions of time, talent and treasures.

There are a number of ways you can make a charitable bequest:

1) Make a cash gift. You may simply state that you wish to leave a specific cash amount or a certain percentage of your entire estate to one or more charities. It could also be the amount left after all other beneficiaries have received their bequests – the residue of your estate.

2) Make a gift of property, such as stocks, real estate and/or the whole or partial interest in a life insurance policy.

Give us a call. We would be glad to spend time with you and discuss the best strategy for your particular circumstances.

Contact: Amit Mohan, CFO Ananda Sangha
By phone: 8447000121
We look forward to serving you.

1.3 Will Fact Sheet

A Will is a way to state legally how you would like to dispose of your assets such as cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, and other personal items. This may be done either by assigning a specific amount, or a percentage, of your estate to the individuals and organizations you would like to support.

A Bequest is a gift of personal property given through a Will and can include cash, stocks, bonds, real estate and other personal property. Our Guru Legacy Fund handles bequests from those who would like to support the mission of Paramhansa Yogananda through the Ananda Sangha.

A Will should be handled by a lawyer to be assured that it is legally valid.

A Will should be kept up-to-date and should be amended as your life circumstances change.

A Will should be safely stored. There can only be one original of your will, which can be kept either at your lawyers’ office, by your executor, at home or in a bank safety deposit box. Those close to you should know the location of your Will. Only the original of your will is a valid legal document.

1.4 Bequest Language to Use for Our Guru Legacy Fund of Ananda Sangha

1. Sample Bequest language

A. Bequest of the Residue of your estate:
“I leave all [or ____ %] of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, whether immoveable or moveable property, and wherever located, to Our Guru’s Legacy fund of Ananda Sangha, N-100 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017

B. Bequest of a Specific Amount:
“I leave to Our Guru’s Legacy fund of Ananda Sangha, N-100 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017 for its general purposes the sum of INR ______________

2. Gifts of immoveable property by Will

“I leave to Our Guru’s Legacy fund of Ananda Sangha, N-100 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017 the immoveable property described as follows: (Property description)

1.5 A Typical Form of a Will

A typical format of a Will is as follows:
I, (name of the testator), son of …, aged about …, of …. religion, citizen of …., residing at ….., do hereby declare this to be my last will and testament which I make on this ______ day of __________ 202_ at ____________ (“Will”) as under:

1. I hereby revoke all my previous wills and codicils thereto, if any.
2. I am of good health and of sound mind and capacity and I am making this Will out of my free will.

3. I hereby appoint ________, residing at ______ as the sole executor and administrator of my Estate (“Executor”) in so far as this Will is concerned.

4. The Executor shall, from my Estate, expend such amounts towards my funeral and obsequial ceremonies as may be required. My Executor shall not be obligated to give accounts thereof to anybody.
5. I hereby direct my Executor to pay all such debts, liabilities, taxes, duties, fees, etc., which concern the Estate and which I may leave after my demise from my Estate itself. The balance of such Estate shall be collected and dealt with in the manner specified herein below.

6. I own and possess certain properties and assets on the date of this Will which have been listed in Schedule A which form part of the Estate. The assets listed in Schedule A are not an exhaustive list of all assets owned by me and that the mention of the aforesaid assets is merely to give the Executor an indication and a direction to proceed further.

7. I GIVE, DEVISE and BEQUEATH, absolutely and forever, to _____, all my right, title and interest in the following assets:

Do mention the names of the persons to receive the assets, and also mention an alternative name in case the person to receive the bequest has passed away prior to the writer of the Will. Authority to executor

8. I hereby further declare that my Executor shall have full powers and the authority to sell, call in and convert into money any / all of my financial investments which I may be possessed of at the time of my demise and distribute the proceeds thereof.

9. The Executor may reimburse himself from my Estate reasonable expenses incurred towards the completion of the execution and probate formalities.

10. The Executor shall be empowered to appoint and consult with any professional services for better undertaking his / her responsibilities in accordance with my wishes.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I do hereby set and subscribe my hand to this my last will and testament on this ________ DAY of __________, _____.

SIGNED and ACKNOWLEDGED by the abovenamed testator, _______,as his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto set and subscribed our respective hands as witnesses.Signature of the author of the Will
Witness 1
Signature of Witness 1
Witness 2
Signature of Witness 2

1.6 Planned Gift Notification form

Kindly download Planned Gift Notification form attached below. After filling the form, please scan and email it to guruslegacy@anandaindia.org

2. How Ananda Sangha Trust Can Serve You?

  • By providing guidance and direction in the area of charitable estate gift planning.
  • By assisting those who wish to include Ananda as a beneficiary of their estate planning.
  • By assisting you in supporting initiatives and projects that are particularly meaningful to you.
  • By providing a place for you to give undirected gifts, to be used where they are most needed within Ananda Sangha’s work.
  • By allowing a single gift to be directed to a number of areas within Ananda.
  • By making it possible to give to Ananda anonymously.

Contact: Amit Mohan, CFO Ananda Sangha

By phone: 8447000121

We look forward to serving you.

To donate to “Our Guru’s Legacy” please use the NEFT details below:

Beneficiary Name: Ananda Sangha Trust-Masters Fund
Bank Name: HDFC Bank
Account No. 50100481262100
IFSC Code: HDFC0000614
Branch: Geetanjali Enclave, New Delhi

To receive the 80G receipt, please email the following details to guruslegacy@anandaindia.org
1. Your Name
2. Residence Address
3. Date of Birth
4. PAN details
5. Transaction reference number
Donations to Ananda Sangha are eligible for 50% Tax Exemption under section 80G of the IT Act, 1961