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Can an unborn grandchild be a Beneficiary in your Will?

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In India, estate planning and will creation hold paramount importance for securing the future of one’s family, ensuring that the assets and legacies are passed on according to one’s wishes. A frequently asked question in this domain is whether an unborn grandchild can be made a beneficiary in a will. The answer, rooted in the Indian legal framework, offers a pathway for individuals looking to extend their legacy to future generations.

Understanding the Legal Framework

Indian law, under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, and the Indian Succession Act, 1925, for non-Hindus, allows for the inclusion of unborn persons as beneficiaries in a will, with certain stipulations. The law mandates that a child in the womb at the time of a testator’s death is considered a living person, provided the child is born alive subsequently.  

In order to transmit a property for the benefit of a person unborn, it is imperative that the property must first be transmitted to a person living on the date of the death of the testator. Therefore, the bequest in favour of an unborn child is void if the child was not born at the time of the death of the child’s grandfather and there is no intervening life interest created in favour of any other person. A bequest to a person who is not in existence at the testator’s death is void, and so is a bequest of a life interest to an unborn person.

Creating a Trust for Unborn Beneficiaries

The most effective way to include an unborn grandchild as a beneficiary in a person’s estate in India is through the creation of a trust. It is imperative that the trust is created for the benefit of the lineal descendants of the settlor (creator of the trust) on the basis of which any grandchild born in the future, can be added as a beneficiary. The trust can specify that a portion of the estate is to be held in trust for the benefit of such grandchild/beneficiary until certain conditions, such as the child reaching legal adulthood or completing education, are met.

  • Specifying the Trust: The trust deed should detail the trust’s formation, the appointed trustees, and the conditions under which the trust’s assets are to be managed and disbursed.

  • Appointing Trustees: Trustees play a crucial role, managing the trust’s assets until the unborn beneficiary meets the conditions set out in the will. It’s vital to choose trustees who are trustworthy and capable of managing the estate in the best interest of the beneficiaries.

The Importance of Professional Guidance

Given the complexities of estate law in India, seeking professional legal advice when planning to include unborn grandchildren as beneficiaries in a will is crucial. Estate planning attorneys and will-making services, such as Yellow, can offer invaluable advice. They ensure your will and any trusts comply with legal standards and truly reflect your wishes. With expertise in handling intricate details of estate planning, professionals can guide you through creating a comprehensive plan that includes provisions for all your loved ones, born and unborn.

The Bottom Line

Including an unborn grandchild as a beneficiary in a will in India is not only possible but also an act of foresight, ensuring that one’s legacy benefits future generations. Through careful planning, legal compliance, and the creation of trusts, individuals can ensure their assets provide for the well-being of unborn heirs. As estate planning evolves in India, considering future generations in wills highlights the importance of forward-thinking in personal finance and legacy planning.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult with a qualified legal professional for specific guidance regarding your individual circumstances.

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