Why organ donation should be part of your estate plan

To be sure, deceased donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ at the time of the donor’s death for transplantation in another person. There are fewer deceased donations in India, unlike in the West.

Data from National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), a government body under the ministry of health and family welfare, shows there were just 941 deceased donors in the country in 2022 versus 930 in 2016. Total transplants grew from 9,022 in 2016 to 16,041 in 2022. Yet, the number of patients waiting for a transplant continues to grow astronomically.

“Consolidated data on organ donors is not publicly available. We work with guesstimates of 500,000 individuals suffering from organ failure, with around half of them on dialysis, 150,000 suffering from liver failure and 100,000 from heart, lung and other vital organ failure,” says Jaya Jairam, project director at MOHAN Foundation, a non-profit organization that works in the field of deceased donation. Jairam, a recipient of an organ donation, works to spread awareness about deceased donation.

Separately, awareness drives on organ donation by the government, NGOs and individuals is helping the cause. The number of people who have pledged to donate their organs after death has reached 466,055, shows data from NOTTO, which maintains a database of all pledges. But that number is just not enough to meet the demand for organ transplantation. Moreover, not all deaths qualify for organ donations. Vital organs such as heart, lung, kidneys and pancreas can only be harvested from people who have been pronounced brain-dead by doctors.

Dr Nimesh Mehta, an ophthalmologist, says fewer than 4% people die in a hospital, after they are on a ventilator, in a manner that has the potential to facilitate organ donation. These include the terminally ill or people who sustain fatal injuries in a road accident and die after admission to a hospital .”

To be sure, there is a time limit for harvesting the organs and transplanting them. “It is the least in case of heart and lungs (about 4-6 hours). For liver and pancreas , it is 24 hours and for kidneys, it is up to 72 hours,” Mehta says. “In the case of those who have taken an organ donation pledge and die a natural death at home, the harvesting cannot be done unless the family informs the hospital or NGO concerned about the death immediately. Tissues like corneas, heart valves, skin, bones, etc, can still be harvested even if there is some delay,” he adds.

Medical experts say that a single body, or cadaver, donation can save up to eight lives and impact more than 75 others.

Take a pledge, create a living will

Medical tests are not required to register for organ donation. Those who wish to donate their organs can fill up the pledge form on NOTTO’s website. One can also do so via registered non-government organizations (NGOs) or authorized hospitals. But a pledge alone doesn’t guarantee organ donation. Hospitals still require the consent of the deceased’s family. “The pledge form requires you to mention at least one family witness and their contact number. First, convince your family members so that in your absence they are mentally prepared to make it happen,” says Kamal Khurana, general secretary at Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti, an NGO.

A living-will is another way of donating your organs or your entire body. It is a legal document of an advanced medical directive in which individuals can express their desire for future medical action against end-of-life care if they go into a coma. For example, they can decide on whether they want to be kept alive with life-support equipment. “Not many people are aware that they can include organ and tissue donation in their living-will,” says certified financial planner Viresh Patel who has drafted his own living-will. “It’s better to include it in the living and regular will both. Also record a video and provide its details in both wills” he says.

Organizations such as Aasaan Will, Yellow and estate planning firms can help you create a living-will. You need to name an executor (preferably a family member) in the document who will execute the living-will in your absence. “It must be attested by the executor, two independent witnesses, and countersigned by a notary or gazetted officer,” says Niranjan Vemulkar, CEO, Yellow, a digital will-making platform.

“The awareness around organ donation is a crucial part of our message when we discuss legacy planning with our clients. Conversations with close family members are the most important part of the process. We also advise them to share their wishes with doctors and designated local government officers through a living will document. It is crucial that all important stakeholders are aware of your wish to donate organs after your death,” he adds.

Fewer pledges, many challenges

An Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance’s 2019 study, conducted in association with Karvy Insights, shows that a majority of the people are aware of organ donation but only 35% understand the process. While 67% believe that it is important, 24% are willing to donate their organs, and a meagre 3% have registered with an authority.

Even in cases where people have pledged their organs, their family members offer resistance for various reasons, beliefs and even superstitions about body mutilation. Some are even worried that they may be asked to pay for the costs of the ventilator. “In the case of an organ donor, the family doesn’t have to pay anything. After the organs are harvested, the body is returned to the family with all due respect,” says Jairam.

In case of people who donate their bodies for research purposes, the cadaver is given to a medical college.

There are other challenges as well. One is infrastructure and logistics. Harvested organs may need to be transported to different hospitals, sometimes from one part of the country to another within the set timeframe. This is a hurdle in case of accidents in places without good connectivity. “Not all hospitals are equipped to declare a patient brain-dead. Also, though we have green corridors and chartered planes for quicker transportation of organs, we need better inter-state coordination,” says Khurana.

Separately, NOTTO launched a new Aadhaar-linked organ and tissue donation pledge registry last month to enrich its database for faster dissemination of information across stakeholders.

The insurance puzzle

Organ transplants are an expensive affair. Earlier, health insurance policies only covered the recipient’s medical expenses in cases of transplants. Now, donor expenses are covered under the same policy. Some insurers may require you to buy a separate critical illness rider to cover organ transplantation.

“Donors don’t have to pay anything for organ donation. The recipients’ policy will take care of that. However, the cover will be restricted up to the sum insured. Some insurers offer reverse coverage as a goodwill gesture. This means if the recipients do not have a policy or have exhausted their coverage, the donor’s insurer may agree to cover the costs,” says Amit Chhabra, chief business officer, PolicyBazaar.com.

The goodwill gesture, though, is uncommon. Rohini Deepthi Natti (38) donated 65% (one lobe) of her liver to her dad in December 2019. Natti and her father both had individual insurance policies. Rohini’s insurer had initially told her that the policy covered all her expenses but later denied the claim. “They told me donor’s insurers don’t cover organ transplants. I had clearly explained my case before the transplant and yet the insurer misguided me. Had I been aware of the clause, I could have included my expenses under my father’s policy,” says Natti.

Can organ donors get a fresh policy or port the existing one? That, say insurance experts, is a difficult proposition. Natti could not port her policy. “They told me that liver-related diseases will not be included in the policy if I port,” she says.

Chhabra says the policy coverage depends on underwriting norms of an insurer based on the medical history of a customer. “Organ donors may still get the policy but it’s harder for recipients,” he says.

Rahul Kumar Prajapati’s is a case in point. The 29-year-old had a heart transplant surgery in 2018. Despite leading a healthy life since, he has failed to get a health insurance policy.

The same applies to life insurance. “Not enough data is available to analyse mortality issues. But we don’t deny covers to donors. They may have to go for additional tests and pay some extra premium or a longer waiting period for diseases linked to that organ,” Anup Seth, chief distribution officer at Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance.

Jairam of MOHAN Foundation says the organization is working with insurers to quantify risks in providing medical cover to both organ donors and recipients.

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Updated: 28 Sep 2023, 10:29 PM IST

“There’s No Ill Will…”: Babar Opens Up About Rumoured Rift In Pakistan Dressing Room | Cricket News

File photo of Shaheen Afridi (left) and Babar Azam.© AFP

Pakistan cricket team had a good start in the recently-concluded Asia Cup tournament but failed to carry the momentum and bowed out of the event in the Super 4 stage, following a disappointing loss to Sri Lanka. After their shocking exit, rumours emerged that Pakistan captain Babar Azam and team’s ace pacer Shaheen Afridi were engaged in a war of words. According to a report in Bol News, Babar, after the loss to Sri Lanka, questioned the role of the senior players in the Asia Cup 2023 campaign. Shaheen interrupted him and said he should not generalise and not criticise those who did well, added the report.

Babar then replied that he is well aware about who is doing well and who’s not, according to the report that also claimed that Babar went to the press conference after the Asia Cup loss and on his way to the hotel did not talk to anybody.

While Shaheen had quelled the rumour with a post on social media, Babar Azam on Tuesday asserted that there is no bad blood in the dressing room following the Asia Cup disappointment.

For the unversed, Shaheen had posted a photo with Babar, along with the caption: “Family.”

In a pre-departure media conference on Tuesday, Babar said: “There is no ill will in the dressing room. There are discussions after every loss but they get twisted into something else entirely. The entire team is like a family and there is love and respect there.”

Most of the Pakistan squad members have not played in India before but skipper Babar Azam on Tuesday exuded confidence, saying his team has done its homework for the ODI World Cup beginning on October 5.

Pakistan team’s visas were finally cleared on Monday night and the side will be reaching Hyderabad via Dubai on Wednesday.

Only Mohammad Nawaz and Agha Salman have played in India before. Babar could not travel to India for the T20 World Cup in 2016 due to an injury.

(With PTI Inputs)

Topics mentioned in this article

Is there a way to draft a watertight will?

I am planning to draft a will and need some tips to make it watertight?

—Name withheld on request

It’s always advisable to name a residuary legatee, i.e., someone who receives those assets which have not been specified under the will, including property that the testator has forgotten/is unaware of or which is acquired after making the will or final testament.

One should nominate executors who are younger than the testator, since they are more likely to survive the testator and also consider naming back-up executors, who can act if the first-named executor is absent or unwilling.

Testators with minor children can name guardians in the will. In an unfortunate situation where both parents have died, naming a guardian can avoid a lot of confusion and contentious litigation over who the guardian should be.

Videographing the will-signing process eliminates doubts about the genuineness of the testator’s signature and having a doctors certificate certifying metal capacity can be of an advantage in case of a contest.

A will is for everyone and should be made by every individual. However, extra care and professional assistance is warranted if one has a sizeable asset base or an unusual or contentious family situation.

The will should be clearly written and validly executed.

Are different wills needed if some assets are situated outside India?

—Name withheld on request

If one has assets overseas, for example a bank account or real estate or shares and securities, those should ideally be covered under a separate will made under the laws of that jurisdiction. In that case, post-demise, the foreign and Indian wills can be administered or probated simultaneously, and independent of each other.

In the absence of such a foreign will, the foreign bank may require a probate to be granted by Indian courts before they release the funds and this could take quite long, or alternatively require that the Indian will be probated in that jurisdiction which could prove tricky since the Indian will may not meet their requirements of legal validity.

Bijal Ajinkya is partner and Ipshita Bhuwania is senior associate at Khaitan & Co.

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Updated: 26 Sep 2023, 08:33 PM IST

“No Comments, Speaker Will…”: Ramesh Bidhuri On Abusing MP In Parliament

BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, under fire for his communal slurs at a Muslim MP inside the parliament, today while refusing to comment on the issue said the Speaker, Om Birla, will look into it. Mr Bidhuri has maintained silence ever since a huge political storm broke out due to his remarks.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Danish Ali, who said he couldn’t sleep the night he was abused and that he was considering leaving the Lok Sabha if no action was taken against Mr Bidhuri, has hit back at the ruling party and said that it was trying to frame a narrative against him. 

This comes after BJP Nishikant Dubey, while condemning the language used by Mr Bidhuri, wrote to Speaker Om Birla and demanded that the “unsavoury” conduct of Mr Ali be investigated as well.

“The fact remains that during the entire speech of Shri Bidhuri, Shri Danish Ali indulged in a ‘running commentary’ and also made unsavoury remarks towards one and all with a view to cause hindrance to Shri Bidhuri and also instigate him to ‘lose his calm and composure’ and not be able to express his views in the House,” Mr Dubey wrote in his letter. 

The BJP MP alleged that when Mr Bidhuri was speaking, the BSP MP was “busy instigating” him and also – at the top of his voice – made a “highly objectionable and blasphemous remark” against PM Modi. 

Mr Bidhuri had on Thursday during a discussion on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission in the Lok Sabha used a string of Islamophobic slurs against the BSP MP, triggering disgust and widespread condemnation both from politicians and people on social media. On Friday, the BJP issued a show-cause notice to Mr Bidhuri and asked him to explain his conduct.

Shahid Kapoor Reveals He Fought With Everyone Over Wearing Glasses In Jab We Met: ‘I Felt Like That Will…’ – News18

Shahid Kapoor in Jab We Met.

Shahid Kapoor recently recounted an interesting anecdote about how he persuaded the makers of Jab We Met to allow him to wear glasses.

Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor, who marked his entry into the industry with the 2003 film Ishq-Vishq, recently revealed his early struggles in clinching film roles. Shahid also recounted an interesting anecdote about how he persuaded the makers of Jab We Met to allow him to wear glasses. In the film Shahid portrayed the character Aditya Kashyap, known for his reserved personality in contrast to Kareena Kapoor’s lively character, Geet.

In a chat with Film Companion, Shahid said, “I fought with everybody. I was like, ‘I want to wear glasses for this,’ and everybody’s like, ‘Are you mad?’ Hero glasses thodi pehenta hai? Tu gaana kaise gayega?” (Hero does not wear glasses, how will you sing?) Shahid recalled that he had to clarify to the filmmakers that Aditya’s character contemplated suicide at the start of the movie and thought of jumping off a train. He assured them that he would take off the glasses when required to sing. However, their reply was, “Are you mad? This is a love story.”

The actor added, “I felt like that will at least help people see me in a different way. Otherwise, I was always looking the same in every film of mine. And then I started making much bigger physical changes because it kind of empowered me to make more decisions. Like Kaminey was my first complete transition from what people were used to seeing me – usually clean-shaven and very boyish.”

On the work front, Shahid Kapoor has three films lined up. He will next be seen in directors Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah’s Impossible Love Story, Aditya Nimbalkar’s Bull and a remake of the 1964 film Woh Kaun Thi? It is also rumoured that Shahid could reunite with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a film.

“Under Your Leadership, We Will…”: SRK’s Shout Out To PM As G20 Ends

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, whose ‘Jawan‘ is running to packed theatres, today gave a shout out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “success of India’s G20 Presidency”.

“Congratulations to Hon. PM @narendramodi ji for the success of India’s G20 Presidency and for fostering unity between nations for a better future for the people of the world,” the superstar posted on X. 

The G20’s adoption of New Delhi Declaration is being seen as a huge win for India against the backdrop of the challenges in reaching consensus due to the Ukraine conflict and differences over tackling climate change.

“It has brought in a sense of honour and pride into the hearts of every Indian. Sir, under your leadership, we will prosper not in isolation but in Oneness. One Earth, One Family, One Future…,” he added further. 

No footnote or Chair’s summary and a 100 per cent consensus on the Delhi G20 Declaration underlines “India’s ability to bring countries together”, French diplomatic sources told NDTV on Saturday, lavishing praise on New Delhi’s negotiation abilities. 

“India has assumed a kind of power and an ability to bring countries together. Not many countries are in a position to negotiate as India has done, i.e. to take on board comments from everyone, and work out a compromise proposal. This is something important,” a French diplomatic source told NDTV.

China and Russia, whose heads of state skipped the Summit, were also in agreement with the Delhi declaration.

The African Union was inducted as the new permanent member of G20, pushing forward a new world order and offering developing nations a greater say in global decision-making.

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What you should know about estate planning and the transition of assets

Estate planning, in simple terms, is managing, preserving and distributing of a person’s movable and immovable assets (financial and non-financial assets) after the person’s demise to his loved ones. A good estate plan will ensure that this transition is a smooth one and the family’s needs are taken can care of.

The main purpose of estate planning is to ensure that the family is protected and can continue to maintain the same standard of living they are used to after the main income earner’s demise.

Furthermore, estate planning also comes into picture if the person has become incapacitated due to any lifestyle disease. Various lifestyle diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, neurological disorders, etc., can affect normal functioning of an individual. To protect and preserve the individual’s wealth, it is important to efficiently utilize the financial resources. In such cases, the role of beneficiaries and executors should be clearly defined.

There are several tools that can be used to implement an estate plan. Individuals can use one of the tools or a combination of them, depending on their goals.

Insurance: Taking a comprehensive life insurance cover is one of the easiest ways to ensure that the family-members are well-covered. In case, the family loses its main source of income due to the income earner’s sudden demise, an insurance cover can take care of the family’s day-to-day expenses and other financial goals. Further, the Married Women’s Property Act (MWP Act) can be used effectively to protect the estate of a married woman, received through the insurance cover. It is a legal protection given to a married woman’s assets against creditors and other relatives. It secures the married woman’s assets and assures financial stability.

Nomination: You must check whether all your investments—real estate and financial assets—has a nominee. At the same time, the nominee should also be aware that he or she is a nominee. Often, there are cases where the nominee is aware only after the person’s demise. Nominations should be made across assets— banks savings account, current account, fixed deposits, bank lockers, post office schemes, bonds, demat holdings, stocks, mutual funds, physical shares (if one is holding), residential or commercial plots, flats, gold, silver, paintings, artefacts and any other assets.

Will: A will or testament is an important tool, which is used by the testator (who makes the will), to define the manner in which he or she wants the assets to be distributed after his or her demise. It is a legal document and thus, has an important role in estate planning. A will shows the basic intention of the testator regarding the persons he or she wants the assets distributed to after his or her lifetime. Without a will, the legal heirs can face a lot of problems to claim the assets, which can run into years. So, an individual should make a will. If there is no will made by the person, i.e the person dies intestate, then the legal heirs may need to obtain a succession certificate as per succession laws to claim the assets of the deceased person. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when making a will. A will has to be in writing. It can be even handwritten. It need not be on a stamp paper. It should have two witnesses. Preferably, the witnesses should be younger than the testator. Registration of a will is optional, but advisable if there is immovable property involved.

Gift deed: A gift deed can also be used to transfer assets to family members and relatives for movable and immovable property. But this is used for transfers during the person’s lifetime.

Trust: A trust is an entity that can be created to safeguard an individual’s assets. It is a separate legal structure from the individual. A trust can be created for beneficiaries, who are minors, physically challenged or for charitable purposes. A trust can be useful for avoiding disputes on assets.

Tejal Gandhi is a Mumbai-based certified financial planner.

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Updated: 07 Sep 2023, 10:26 PM IST

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Can any woman lay claim to her son’s assets without a will?

My husband died without creating a will. He owned a few properties and had some investments as well. His mother is now contesting his estate even though she has assets of her own. Is her claim valid?

—Name withheld on request

We assume that your husband was a Hindu and that there is no right or interest of any other person in the property and that these properties were self-earned.

As per Hindu Succession Act, 1956 if a male dies intestate, i.e. without making a will then “general rules of succession in the case of males” apply. It states “The property of a male Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the provisions of this Chapter—(a) firstly, upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class I of the Schedule;(b) secondly, if there is no heir of class I, then upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class II of the Schedule;(c) thirdly, if there is no heir of any of the two classes, then upon the agnates of the deceased; and (d) lastly, if there is no agnate, then upon the cognates of the deceased.”

The class I legal heirs (whoever is surviving) consists of mother, spouse, children, widow of predeceased son, etc.

In case there is no will, a succession certificate or legal heir certificate is acquired from the competent civil court. This is a document that gives the right to inherit the assets to the legal heirs of the deceased who died intestate.

While your husband’s mother might have her own assets, her claim to a share in your late husband’s estate could be valid under the above applicable legal provisions. Laws and interpretations can vary, so it’s crucial to seek advice from a qualified legal professional to fully understand your rights and responsibilities in this situation.

Also, one may also suggest sitting down with the family to discuss and come to a consensus can be a practical and less adversarial approach. It might also help to avoid the expenses and emotional toll that legal proceedings can bring. However, it’s still advisable to involve legal professionals, even during such discussions, to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected and that any agreement reached is legally valid and binding. Consulting with a legal expert can provide clarity on the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.

Neha Pathak is head of trust and estate planning, Motilal Oswal Private Wealth.

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Updated: 05 Sep 2023, 10:17 PM IST

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How do nominees differ from legal heirs?

Can a person become the owner of a flat or property merely by the virtue of being made a nominee in the form submitted to a housing society? Also, does a will or testament supersede the nomination in such a case? And, is a probate compulsory for wills?

—Name withheld on request

It is settled law that a nominee does not become the owner of the property. Nominee holds the property in trust for the legal heirs.

The role of a nominee in case of apartments / flats in housing society or a condominium is limited to that of a representative of the legal heirs of the deceased member and in no manner become the successor replacing the rightful legal heirs. No rights and benefits are created and extended towards the nominee when the legal heirs are alive.

Nominee is only a person with whom the society or a condominium can deal with pursuant to the death of the member, up until the rightful legal heir does not come forward to seek transfer of the rights in the property.

The reason behind nomination has been that title or rights to the property cannot remain in abeyance and hence until the rightful legal heirs comes forward to seek a transfer, there is a person who can oversee the affairs of the property.

In case the deceased has left behind a will and has also nominated a person by virtue of a nomination form, then the person to whom the property is bequeathed under the will, shall be entitled to the property as opposed to the person who has been nominated under a nomination form. A nominee’s rights does not supersede the rights of a beneficiary under a will.

In a nutshell, a will would prevail over nomination.

Under Indian succession laws, a probate of a will is mandatory if the will or codicil has been executed in Kolkata, Chennai and/or Mumbai, or, if the immovable property is situated in any of the aforesaid cities even if the will is executed in any other place.

Harsh Parikh is partner, Khaitan & Co.

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Updated: 29 Aug 2023, 11:04 PM IST

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Arjun Rampal Reacts To Ranveer Singh In Don 3, Says ‘He Is A Fantastic Actor And I Think He Will…’ – News18

Arjun Rampal feels Ranveer Singh can easily pull off a film like Don 3.

Arjun Rampal compared Don 3 to James Bond movies and reacted to Ranveer Singh taking forward the legacy of Shah Rukh Khan.

Farhan Akhtar, who rocked the Bollywood with Don (2006) and Don 2 (2011), recently dropped the suave first look of Ranveer Singh as Don, from the third instalment of the franchise. While the fans have a long wait ahead of them for any fresh updates around the film, Arjun Rampal who played an important character Jasjit Ahuja in the first reboot of Don: The Chase begins expressed his thoughts by comparing it with some of the biggest franchises of Hollywood like James Bond and Mission Impossible.

In an interview with Zoom Entertainment, Arjun Rampal complimented Ranveer Singh by calling him a ‘fantastic Actor’. Not only that, he quoted some Hollywood films while voicing out his opinion on Don 3. He told the portal, “I think it’s good. It is like when you do a Bourne Ultimatum, or a Bourne Identity or a James Bond (film). Don’s that kind of a franchise. So, the mantle’s being put onto Ranveer’s shoulders. I think he is a fantastic actor and I think he will give it his best shot. So, I wish him all the best.”

Despite mixed reactions to the new Don, fans were hoping that Farhan Akhtar would dive into the making of Don 3. Starring Ranveer Singh in the lead, the film is currently slated to release in 2025. However, a new report has sparked speculations that the film might be delayed. If a new report is to be believed, Farhan is in talks to star in two films — Begin Again and Champions. If he agrees to do the films, he will most likely wrap them and then dive into the making of Don 3.

A source told Pinkvilla that the remake of 2013 film Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, will be helmed by Nitya Mehra and produced by Vikram Malhotra’s Abundantia Entertainment. “Farhan, and Nitya in talks for a musical comedy for a while now, and things are in advanced stages of development at the moment. It’s said to be a remake of the 2013 Hollywood classic, Begin Again, and will go on floors by the end of this year with a start-to-finish schedule. The film chronicles the journey of a musician, who goes on to produce an album that breaks all the records,” the source said.

Besides the Begin Again remake, Farhan has also signed Aamir Khan’s Champions. “Farhan was also committed to doing Champions for Aamir Khan Production, but the film as of today is slated to go on floors in January 2024. This will be followed by another acting assignment for Farhan, to be produced by Excel Entertainment and then finally Don 3,” the source added.

After wrapping the two films, Farhan will dive into Don 3. Don 3 is expected to go on floors by the end of 2024 and will eye a 2025 release date. By 2024, Ranveer is also expected to wrap work on his rumoured Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, Baiju Bawra. As per rumours, Alia Bhatt is expected to star with Ranveer in the film.

Farhan Akhtar is yet to react to the reports.

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Can I draft a will that benefits my family as per my terms?

I am 54-years-old and live with my wife and son . I own the house we live in as well as the adjacent house in which my mother resides. Additionally, I have investments in PPF (public provident fund) account, and various other assets. I am planning to write a will with my wife as the sole beneficiary. In case she predeceases me, I want the assets to go to my son. I want my mother to retain the flat till her demise, whereupon my son should get custody of that house. How do I accomplish all this with a will?

—Name withheld on request

As per your query, we assume that you are is a Hindu. Further, we understand that there is no right or interest of any other person in your properties and that the same were held only by you. We further understand that these are self-earned and self- created.

In a situation like this, the first option is creating a will.

You can draft a will for all your assets. The will should have details of the beneficiaries and details of all assets and investments. The will should then specify the distribution of assets as per your wishes.

With reference to the flat where your mother is residing, you should specify the property and insert a “life interest” clause to create a living interest for your mother. The life interest clause should specify clearly that you want your mother to enjoy the property for her lifetime. The property on which such a life interest is created cannot be sold, mortgaged or alienated by any method by any other person for the lifetime of your mother, thus will allow your mother to enjoy the property without any complications.

The will should be dated and signed by you and attested by at least two witnesses (preferably younger to you), appoint the executor in the will and have the same registered (this is optional).

In case of your demise, the executor has to seek probate on your will and distribute the assets as per your wishes.

The second option is to create a private family trust.

However, you would either have to transfer the property in the trust which will attract stamp duty levied at the market rate or make a provision in your will that the property gets bequeathed to the private trust upon your demise.

Here, the trust can have the terms where your mother will have the right to enjoy the property during her lifetime and only then will that be given to your wife or son.

A private trust is an effective vehicle to ensure a proper succession plan and does not require probate to transfer/ benefit from the property.

Do remember to update your will periodically to reflect changes in your assets, beneficiaries, or other circumstances.

Neha Pathak is head of trust and estate planning, Motilal Oswal Private Wealth.

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Updated: 22 Aug 2023, 10:26 PM IST

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Is there a tax-friendly method for dividing my mother’s property?

My father, my sister and I are the sole legal heirs of my mother’s immoveable property situated in Delhi. My father wishes that the said property or realizable value thereof may be shared equally by both the children. What is the suitable, tax-friendly method of achieving this division of property? One simple way could be that my father signs a deed of relinquishment before the mutation of the property. Is there any other alternative method that will be tax efficient and would not entail payment of stamp duty or any other levies?

—Name withheld on request

As per your query, we infer that your mother had acquired the immovable property in Delhi and such property was not inherited by her from any of her parents. We assume that your mother was a Hindu and that she died intestate, i.e. without leaving a will. Under such circumstances, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, lays down provisions for the division of property of a Hindu female dying intestate.

As per the Act, your mother’s property devolves upon all three of you equally as her class I legal heirs.

Typically, in such cases, the individual holding the one-third share may consider executing a release deed relinquishing his/her share in the property in favour of other heirs having some share in the same property. Another tax efficient method if the intention is to mitigate the impact of the stamp duty or other levies could be your father bequeathing his one-third share in the property in his will.

I am a 70-year-old retired service personnel living with my wife and two children (a daughter and a son). I have prepared a will on a 10 stamp paper and got it attested by a notary. Is this will acceptable as a legal document or should I get it registered.

—Ajay Kumar Gupta

There is no requirement for a will and last testament to be notarized or registered. Registration of a will is optional in India and is typically considered by testators to add a layer of authenticity to their wills. Do note that not registering a will before the office of sub-registrar of assurances has no bearing on the validity of such will. The 10 stamp paper or the use of a notary have no relevance. Your will would be acceptable as a valid will as long as it is attested by two witnesses who have seen you signing it in person.

Rishabh Shroff is partner & co-head, private client, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

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Updated: 15 Aug 2023, 10:27 PM IST

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