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Will and testament

By Nickunj Malik - Nov 28,2012 - Last updated at Nov 28,2012

I’m sure many of us have mulled over it, some might have discussed it, and the proactive ones even drafted it.

What is it, you might want to know?

It is a legal declaration that assists in the transfer of property, estate and all worldly goods to a specific individual or organisation after death. In simple words, it is called a will.

Any person can draft a will, with or without the help of lawyers. There are only two pre-conditions attached to it. The first is that one has to be over the age of majority, a term used for attaining adulthood, which is 18 in most countries. It is actually the age when minors supposedly stop being children and start taking responsibility for themselves.

The second stipulation is that one has to be of sound mind. Now, this prerequisite is somewhat dicey because soundness of mind cannot be easily deciphered. For instance, one can be extremely ill mentally and yet be called sane, as also one can be in perfect mental health and still be labeled insane.

But somehow if one clears both these criteria faultlessly, there is no power on earth that can stop one from drawing up one’s testament. One can even do away with the legalese and write it by hand in a straightforward manner. Duly witnessed and signed, it should hold up in any court of law.

I always thought that old people made wills. Now, what is old, or rather, who is old, is a philosophical question altogether. To my mind, whatever is your exact age, plus 10 years, is old. So, at 30, 40 year olds seem elderly, but when you cross that milestone, it is the half-century mark that starts looking ancient.

Age notwithstanding, I always worried about what would happen if I were run over by a car. Living in a metropolitan city, where people drive carelessly and ceaselessly, it is not such an alien thought. Newspapers are full of lengthy columns about such happenings. What would happen to my worldly goods if I met an untimely demise, I ask myself?

So, of late, I have been thinking about making a will and testament. And because I have invested time and effort in the various material possessions that I have collected, I would like to will it to the appropriate people.

I mean, there is no point in giving away my extremely handy and super sharp garden shears to someone who is inherently a non-gardener. Or my favourite reading chair that comes with a footstool and a bright light attachment to a non-reader.

Before moving to Jordan from our earlier posting in Bahrain, I had a near-death experience. The packers told me that they could not move my potted plants from one country to another because of certain laws, and that I would have to give away all of my 56 flourishing pots. I threatened to get them arrested and refused point blank. Matters reached a deadlock. Spouse was extricated from an important meeting to intervene and soothe ruffled feathers.

Eventually my plants made their way into Amman in an air-conditioned truck. Contrary to the embittered packers’ prediction that they would shrivel up and die in an alien environment, my flora is flourishing gloriously.

My will, I think, will read: “All to spouse.”

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Tuesday 24 November 2015


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