Moneylife Events
“A will should be a simple document, not in legalese”

Moneylife Foundation invited Advocate Bapoo Malcolm explain to a packed house of over 80 attendants the practical aspects of preparing a will. Over the course of the interactive two-hour session, which mostly consisted of participants asking a string of questions, Mr Malcolm covered privileged, holographic and joint wills, registration, litigation possibilities, executors and intestate problems

It is common to postpone the making of a will. Perhaps you have some personal reasons for doing so, but if you’re doing so because you’re under the impression that the procedure is complicated, you couldn't be further from the truth. At Moneylife Foundation’s 160th seminar, Bapoo Malcolm, a very well experienced lawyer in both civil and criminal matters, said, “A Will should be a simple document. Preferably, it should be in simple language, not legalese, and give specific instructions about what is to be done with the movable and immovable properties you own and the property you will perhaps acquire in future after your death. It would be best if it read like a balance sheet. Just specify the property and the person. Be as specific as possible.”
Mr Malcolm said that grammar is what most of us forget about when we write our Will and that could be a disaster. He said, “If I were to write my Will in Marathi or Hindi, it would be a disaster. But if I did so, I would get it checked. Grammar is very important when you write your Will. A comma here and a plural there could change the meaning significantly. Remember that a Will is basically you speaking from the grave. Obviously you cannot answer any further questions when the Will has to be interpreted. So it will all be interpreted according to the word of the law, which may not assign the same meaning as you intended.” Immediately after this, one participant read out from a Will he had drafted. Mr Malcolm instantly pointed out grammatical errors and spotted ambiguous language.
The basic requirements of a Will are easy to even commit to memory. Mr Malcolm said, “A Will can be made by any person who is not a minor and who is of sound mind. You need two witnesses, preferably independent of each other. The Will must list all the immovable and movable properties you own and who you wish to will them to after your death.” Remember, however, that you can only bequeath what belongs to you and what is self-earned; otherwise the distribution is governed by various Succession Acts.
There appeared to be several misconceptions about the making of a Will. One was that a Will needs to be registered. Mr Malcolm cleared the doubt. He said, “The government does want to encourage people to make Wills, so they haven’t made it compulsory to register a Will. You can even make a Will on a serviette. So long as the basic requirements are fulfilled, the Will is legal. Registration is a grey area, mainly because if you then wish to make a second Will, you may not have the time to register it. If you realise the day you die that a relative is useless, you may not be able register this second Will. Then does the unregistered Will have more value than the registered one. Registration, however, takes care of the safety issue. An unregistered Will could easily be lost. At least if it is registered you know that it is always in some government ward.”
Participants were also unclear about whom to appoint as an executor. One participant, for example, asked whether it was necessary to have an executor in the first place. Mr Malcolm answered, “Of course you need an executor. Without the executor, who will execute the Will? If you expect your children to do this, why not just name your children as the executors? If this is not done, the court will appoint someone and there is no need for this.”
Mr Malcolm also delved into the differences in the laws that apply to Sunni Muslims. He said, “I think the law that applies to Sunni Muslims is a fantastic one. They can gift away a third of their property to anybody they want, but the rest must be given to the family. In my opinion, this is good.” A Sunni Muslim man in the crowd then asked a few questions on how to share the property equally between his two children, a son and a daughter.
Nominations are areas of confusion. Mr Malcolm advised participants to have joint accounts with those who they have, in fact, nominated. He said, “If there is a nominee, the transfer becomes complicated. If there is a joint account holder, there are no questions asked. The joint holder has full access to the account, so nothing can stop him from withdrawing money from the account.”
It was only at the very end of the seminar that Mr Malcolm found the time to discuss the presentation he had prepared. He gave participants the proper definitions of terms, such as codicil and testamentary guardian, and explained in detail what a probate is.


Sensex, Nifty may try to bounce back: Weekly Market Report

If the Nifty closes above 5,550, it will attempt a short rally. A weekly close above 5,635 is needed for a longer rally to unfold

The market closed in the negative for the second week in a row on not-so-impressive economic indicators which raised concerns of the pace of growth and weak quarterly numbers from IT major Infosys. Investors were worried that the dismal showing by Infosys would impact other IT majors, which are expected to announce their fourth quarter numbers next week. Headline inflation numbers, due on Monday, and quarterly results from corporates would be the focus for the next week.


The BSE Sensex finished the week 208 points (1.13%) down at 18,243 and the Nifty settled 25 points (0.44%) lower at 5,529. The market may try to bounce back. If the Nifty closes above 5,550, it will attempt a short rally. A weekly close above 5,635 is needed for a longer rally to unfold.


Continuing its decline from the previous week, the market settled marginally lower on Monday on concerns about the economy. The market pared early gains and settled around 1% lower on Tuesday on a sell-off by foreign institutional investors. Gains in technology, banking and capital goods stocks helped the benchmarks close higher on Wednesday.


Support from the global markets saw the domestic indices closing higher on Thursday. The market closed lower on Friday on a sell-off in IT and technology shares following a weak showing by Infosys and on weak economic indicators.


BSE Bankex (up 3%) and BSE Auto (up 2%) were the top sectoral gainers while BSE IT (down 10%) and BSE TECk (down 8%) were the biggest losers in the week.


Tata Motors (up 8%), Cipla, ICICI Bank (up 5% each), HDFC Bank (up 4%) and Hindalco Industries (up 2%) were the key gainers on the Sensex. The losers were led by Infosys (down 20%), Wipro (down 16%), Tata Steel, Coal India (down 3% each) and Jindal Steel & Power (down 2%).


The top performers on the Nifty were Jaiprakash Associates (up 10%), Tata Motors (up 8%), Ambuja Cements, Lupin (up 7% each) and DLF (up 6%). The main losers on the index were Infosys (down 20%), Tata Steel, Coal India (down 3% each), JSPL and Asian Paints (down 2% each). 


India’s industrial growth slipped to 0.6% in February 2013 mainly on account of contraction in power generation and mining output and poor performance of manufacturing sector. Factory output, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had grown by 4.3% in February last year.


Retail inflation declined to 10.39% in March, snapping a five-month rising trend, on the back of a fall in prices of vegetables and protein-based items. It, however, continued to remain in double digit terrain for the fourth consecutive month in March. Retail inflation in urban areas declined to 10.38% in March while CPI for the rural population fell to 10.33% during the month.


IT services major Infosys tumbled over 20% on Friday after the company forecast a tepid 6% to 10% growth in revenue in both rupee terms and dollar terms for the year ending 31 March 2014. The revenue guidance is lower than industry body Nasscom's projection of 12% to 14% growth in IT exports in the current fiscal year.


On the global front, Eurozone finance ministers, at a meeting held in Dublin on Friday, finalised a 10 billion euro bailout for Cyprus. The package consists of 9 billion euros from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and 1 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund. Cyprus is the first bailout to be dealt with exclusively by the ESM, the EU's permanent bailout fund.


A seven-year-old girl in Beijing has been infected with H7N9 bird flu, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported Saturday, the first confirmed case in the Chinese capital. Until the announcement all 43 previous human cases of the H7N9 outbreak, 11 of which had been fatal, had been confined to eastern China.


SAT adjourns hearing on Sahara plea to 20th April

After the “preliminary hearing” today, the Securities and Appellate Tribunal posted the matter to 20th April as the counsel for Sahara Group sought adjournment due to medical reasons

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today adjourned to 20th April its hearing on Subrata Roy's plea against market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) attachment order of his bank accounts and other assets, along with those of two group firms and their top executives.


After taking up the petition for its “preliminary hearing”, the SAT posted the matter to 20th April as the counsel for Sahara Group sought adjournment due to medical reasons.


The matter relates to the case involving a refund of over Rs24,000 crore raised through “various illegalities” by two Sahara companies.


Four petitions have been filed against SEBI, namely by Sahara chief Subrata Roy himself, Sahara Housing Investment Corp (SHICL), Sahara India Real Estate Corp (SIRECL), and Ashok Roy Chaudhary and others.


The petitions have challenged SEBI's 13th February order attaching bank accounts, investments and other assets of the two companies and their four top executives, including Roy, to eventually sell them for recovering required funds for the investor refund as per a Supreme Court order.


Roy had first approached SAT against SEBI's attachment orders in February, followed by pleas filed by other entities.


The Tribunal last heard the matter on 26th March, when it decided to proceed further on all the petitions together.


Incidentally, SEBI passed another order in this case on 26th March, hours after SAT's last hearing of Sahara plea.


In its 26th March order, SEBI summoned Roy and three other top executives for personal appearance on 10th April after submitting details of their personal and company assets to ascertain terms for the sale of those assets.


Roy and others appeared before SEBI's whole-time member Prashant Saran at the market regulator's headquarters on 10th April, wherein they were asked about their asset details.


As per a Supreme Court order, SEBI has been asked to facilitate the refund of more than Rs24,000 crore to over three crore bondholders after verifying their genuineness.


After expiry of the court-set deadline for the refund, SEBI had issued attachment orders.


Sahara has questioned SEBI's action for attaching Roy's property, saying that neither he was issued a show-cause notice nor did SEBI follow procedure of securing an enabling order from a judicial magistrate.


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