Friday, 12 July 2013

'Will' means IchhaPatra not MrityuPatra:

Indians generally think that will is the last document to be signed. The reason may be in the name of the document in Indian languages. ‘Will’ is known as MrityuPatra. Mrityu means death and Patra means Document. This may be the reason people think this document once prepared the person would die immediately after the document is signed. One solution to this could be the document should be called as ‘Ichha Patra’ rather than ‘MrityuPatra’. The other aspect is mostly people think that once this document is prepared persons who do not get any share in his/her property would not look after the person during his/her last days. There are many more mis-concepts about Ichha Patra. Some examples are:-
1.      Ichha Patra should be prepared by a lawyer on stamp paper
2.      Ichha Patra should be registered
3.      Those who sign Ichha Patra would know what is written in it and they would tell about it to others. Thus it would not be a secret or confidential.
4.      Some think preparation of will is not needed when he/she has only one child.
5.      Some have extra ordinary confidence that his/her children shall not fight for the property.
6.      Some think that he/she is having negligible property and there is no need to prepare Ichha Patra.
7.      Some think that he/she is not going to die in near future. Ichha Patra can be prepare any time.
8.      My children are cultured and they would take care of their mother after my death.
9.      The worst is, “I am busy. I have no time to prepare will”

Every citizen must find about Ichha Patra from knowledgeable person (advocate) and prepare Ichha Patra irrespective of age of the person. Ichha Patra can be prepared even by a child below 18 years provided he/she has property/income on his/her name. The only need is a trustee is appointed where Ichha Patra is prepared by a minor. There is absolutely no need to prepare Ichha Patra on stamp paper. What is important is the person who prepares it must be sane at that time and 2 witnesses must sign in token of confirming that the person who prepared Ichha Patra has signed in their presence. This is like attesting signature. There is no need to register Ichha Patra. Registration makes it a legal document though. Register Ichha Patra cannot be challenged in any court of law. At the same time copies of the document are available on payment to those who apply for the same. Thus it doesn’t remain as a secret or confidential document. Following are some tips for preparing Ichha Patra:-
1.      Ichha Patra can be prepared by a sane person even if he/she may be physically handicapped. Age is no criteria. For minors a trustee is needed.
2.      Ichha Patra can be prepared jointly by husband and wife.
3.      Conditional Ichha Patra also can be prepared with a clause that after death the entire property and liabilities shall be transferred to spouse and after death of spouse it would be distributed in certain manner among beneficiaries decided by the person making Ichha Patra.
4.      Ichha Patra should be prepared on thick white paper which could last for a long time. There is no need to type it but it should be written in easily readable hand writing. Persons using computer may prepare it on computer and print it on a long lasting paper.
5.      As far as possible copies of Ichha Patra must be limited. Single copy is preferable.
6.      Person who prepares Ichha Patra should sign with date on each page in presence of witnesses. Witnesses also should sign on each of the pages with date.
7.      It should be ensured that witnesses survive after the death of the person preparing Ichha Patra. In case one of the witnesses die in life of the person Ichha Patra should be prepared again and signed by the person and witnesses as said earlier.
8.      Whenever an Ichha Patra is prepared it must have one last line “This supersedes all earlier Ichha Patra” Date and preferably time is important on Ichha Patra to prove that a particular Ichha Patra is the last. Action is taken on last Ichha Patra only.
9.      It is preferable to have Medical doctor(s) as witness(es).
10.  It is preferable to obtain medical certificate to the effect that the person preparing his/her Ichha Patra is sane and is in good mental health. If doctor is one of the witnesses purpose of certificate is served.
11.  Ichha Patra can be changed any number of times in the life time of the person making Ichha Patra. It is always preferable to prepare a new Ichha Patra as and when change is needed. Date and time on Ichha Patra makes it possible to decide on finally applicable Ichha Patra.
12.  Ichha Patra may be registered or kept in safe custody on whom the person has full belief. Registered Ichha Patra can be obtained by the beneficiary through probate. The custodian would invite all beneficiaries and read Ichha Patra in their presence. Registration is more preferable.
13.  Preparation of Ichha Patra ensures that after the life time of the person preparing Ichha Patra, property with assets and liabilities is transferred to beneficiaries with least problems and differences among the beneficiaries. If Ichha Patra is registered the beneficiaries can obtain copy through a probate. If it is kept in custody of legal firm the firm makes it available to the beneficiaries. Ichha Patra also avoids transfer fee in many items of property.
14.  If Ichha Patra is not prepared beneficiaries have to obtain succession certificate and then divide the property equally. The may be problems in equal division or some beneficiaries may not like to share with some others. This means beneficiaries would file application in court of law. Also transfer fee and stamp duty may be involved in transfer of assets.
15.  Ichha Patra also can be prepared for transferring self earned property to charitable trust or the person can create a charitable trust himself/herself and appoint trustees. Inherited property must be divided among legal heirs. Although equal distribution is a natural way some difference may be made if equal distribution is not feasible.
16.  Preparation of Ichha Patra saves physical and financial hardships to the beloved persons. No one should die before making Ichha Patra. No worry if changes in Ichha Patra are made any number of times. Just ensure date and time is placed by the person making Ichha Patra and the witnesses. Attach doctor’s certificate with Ichha Patra, in case at least one of the witnesses is not a registered medical practitioner.

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