GreyMatter, Personal

Where There Is A Will

Our elder child turned 18 recently, and we took the opportunity to update our Will. This was an iteration of an existing document (drafted about four years ago), and I soon discovered that a lot had changed since then, in terms of life events, investments and priorities.

Shockingly, almost every one we encountered during the course of revising the document expressed their surprise at the fact that we were on this path already! After all, why think of your own death so early in Life?!

That said, we all know on some level that the prudent thing to do is to have a plan in place, in the event of our untimely departure.

So, here is a quick 10-step guide to help you leave a better legacy for your loved ones…

  1. Every one of us has some savings or investments put away for a rainy day – tell your spouse/partner about it, so they know what they can access if you are no longer around
  2. If you do not have adequate Insurance, prioritize taking a good (inexpensive) Term policy – it is the most cost-efficient way to protect against uncertainty; Again, tell your spouse/partner about it as soon as possible
  3. If you already have substantial Life Insurance (at least 10x of your current annual take home), focus on improving your Medical Insurance coverage – it will help you meet those nasty contingencies that can wipe out the best of portfolios
  4. If you invest in financial instruments, property, stocks or mutual funds, make sure you fill out the paperwork needed to include nominations for your spouse/children – this will ease the transition of assets immeasurably
  5. If you are employed in a corporate role, don’t forget to declare nominations for the benefits that are available to you by your employer; Again, inform your family about these benefits
  6. If you keep “important documents” and/or jewellery etc. in a safe or locker, make sure key folks in your family know the details
  7. If you have loans or liabilities, plan to prepay them as fast as you can, and keep your spouse/partner in the know – it will be their liability one day
  8. If you have young children, identify friends or family members who can chip-in to take care of them, and guide them until they attain maturity
  9. If you have children older than 12 years of age, talk to them about Personal Finance and help them understand how/where you invest (at least, in principle); They will thank you for it one day
  10. Once you’re done with these essentials, make a list of everything you have (and everything you owe); Head to Google to search for “how to make a will in India”, then follow the simplest path to draft that document

Please Note: This is not a comprehensive list, nor specifically targeted to your unique needs. If your portfolio (or estate) is substantial, do consult with lawyers and/or registered Financial Planners to create a plan meant for you – but, don’t delay taking that step. Country-specific regulations may also vary.

For most others though, these may just be the bare minimum (but most-impactful) actions you take to protect the interests of your loved ones.