Register Separate wills for property and assets in India

Should NRIs have Separate Wills?

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One for Indian assets and one for overseas assets

One of the prominent challenges that the NRIs face is how to plan for a smooth transfer of these assets. Drafting a Will, is one of the easiest tools of Estate Planning for smooth inheritance. When one is writing a Will one question, which often crosses NRIs mind, is should they have to make separate Wills, i.e., one for offshore assets and one for Indian assets?

There is no simple answer for this. One should carefully consider the pros and cons of having a Single or Concurrent Will (separate Wills for separate jurisdictions) before taking a decision on what is best for a person.

List of Challenges faced by NRIs if they go for a single Will?

1) At the time of Execution of Will, it has to be probated in their nation of residence and then they need to apply for ancillary Probate in India.

2) The probate process in various offshore jurisdictions cannot be completed until one has received ancillary probate in a different country (in case of NRIs in India).

3) Moreover, In the case of a foreign executed Will, the Will must be qualified in India and also should be able to meet the provisions of The Indian Succession laws. If they do not meet the term and conditions of Indian Law, then it might lead to unnecessary complications and litigations later on.

4) In India, the time taken and Indian court fees for obtaining a probate generally ranges from 6 months to a few years, and the price varies from INR 50k to a maximum of 8.75% in some states in India. Therefore, if there is a delay in getting probate in India, it might lead to a delay in having full access to the property of the deceased.

List of Challenges faced by NRIs if they opt for a Concurrent Will?

In case NRIs opt for having the separate Wills – one for offshore assets and one for Indian assets then the following points they must consider are:

1) There is an additional cost of the drafting of Will in each jurisdiction, and they have to consult with professional property lawyers before doing so.

2) Moreover, they have to decide who gets to keep the multiple Wills, as, if not correctly well-planned, it might lead to confusion amongst their legal heirs of property.

In conclusion, if NRIs want to avoid future complications and assure that the legal delays in India do not cause any delays in having complete access to the deceased person’s Estate, they should have two separate Wills – one for their Indian assets and one for Global assets.