It is important to be cautious while investing as they can help you maintain your standard of living even after retirement. Making an estate plan to ensure that your assets and investments will be transferred to the appropriate person after your death is essential. In order to do that, you must know about Will and how you can make an effective will in India. Let’s get started.
What Is a Will?
In legal terms, a will is a legal document that outlines the manner in which property and other assets can be distributed upon the death of the executor. It is the only legal document that determines an individual’s heirs and the distribution of their estate. It can’t be enforceable against the executor while they are alive, and it is only valid upon the death of the executor.
In India, it is not mandatory to record a will. A person can include one more witness in their Will, that is, the Government of India (Sub-Registrar’s Office), with some additional effort and expense. This can help families in the event that someone challenges the validity of the Will, resulting in the intervention of a court to prove that the Will is genuine. It helps to prove the authenticity of the Will without the need to call witnesses, etc.
What should a Will include?
- The Will has to be executed by the testator. If he is unable to sign, he will be required to put his thumb impression on the Will. If the Testator is unable to do either, anyone else under the direction of and with the permission of the Testator can sign the Will on behalf of the Testator.
- A Will must be signed by at least two or more individuals as witnesses. The Will must include the name, address, age and signatures of witnesses.
- The property to bequeathed should be described properly so that the property can be easily identified.
- It must be clearly specified who will execute the Will.
- A Doctor’s Certificate should be attached to the Will and certify that the Testator was in a good mental and physical state during the execution of the stated Will. The Certificate can be included in the Will itself as it is part of the Will.
- While revoking the original Will and creating a new one, such recitals should be included in the new Will.
- If it’s discovered that a deceased Testator has created Several Wills, the Will made at a later date will be considered as the valid Will.
Who can make a Will?
1. A person who has a sound mind and is major;
2. A Hindu married woman concerning her self-acquired properties;
3. Someone who is deaf, dumb or blind, if he can understand what he’s doing;
4. A person who is usually insane -during an interval in which he is of clear mind.
However, a person cannot make a Will when being in such a state of mind, regardless of whether it is due to intoxication, illness or any other reason that he does not know what he’s doing.
Types of Wills
Any person, except combatants, can make an unprivileged will. These guidelines should be followed by that person:
- The testator must sign the will. Another person may be asked to sign the will in the presence of the testator.
- It is essential to sign the will for the will to be valid.
- At least two or more witnesses who saw the sign placed on the will must attest to it.
- No additional verification is needed.
At present, air force officers, sailors, soldiers, and officers are covered under a privileged will. The following guidelines are applicable to this specific will:
- If the will is written by the testator’s hand, there is no need for attestation.
- It can also be written by other individuals, but even if it’s not attested, it must be signed by the person who wrote it in such a case.
- If a document is not signed by the testator but was written by another person, the document must demonstrate that the writer followed the instructions of the testator.
- The written instructions that the member of the armed services had might be considered his legal will even if they could not be recorded as will.
What is a ‘Will’ Registration?
A “Will” is a legal document through which the testator declares his desires regarding how their property will be distributed after his death. A Will cannot be used to deal with the ancestral property but only with the self-owned property.
The process of registering a Will with the assistance of the Sub-Registrar and the Registrar is known as Will Registration. Wills can be registered anytime and are more flexible than any other document.
How to register A Will in India?
Will Registration Procedure involves the following steps:
- The testator must first visit the sub-registrar’s office in the area where they reside or where the majority of the estate is located in order to record the Will. The testator’s physical presence before a government official makes the original Will more trustworthy and reliable.
- The Will cannot be revealed to future generations of the testator due to security or privacy reasons. Still, it may be registered at any point because of its delicate nature. It is, therefore, different from other documents, which must be recorded within four months from the date of its execution.
- When you file the document, be sure to carefully read it to ensure that there aren’t any legal errors.
- The date for the enrollment process is set in the office of the sub-registrar after it has been reviewed.
- It is expensive to register with the nominal government, which varies from state to state.
- The testator should ensure that he travels to the Sub-office Registrar’s office with at least two attesting witnesses.
- The recorded copy of Will is available for pick-up after the procedure in one week.
The Fundamental Standards for Making a Will
In the Indian Succession Law, Section 59 addresses a person’s ability and need to make a Will. In this regard, it states:
- A person who isn’t a minor can make a will to dispose of his property, and anyone who isn’t deaf, blind or dumb must be able to understand the purpose of the will.
- The person writing a will must have a sound mind, meaning they are free of mental insanity, idiocy, mental weakness, delusions, acute illness, serious physical infirmity, etc.
- The person writing the will should be aware of its content and also give their approval.
While the making or writing of a will is considered unnecessary and fancy, it is still an important document that decides not just the fate of your loved ones but also the division of your belongings. It is more difficult to dispose of the property without a will because the state is now involved. There is a chance that the state will take the entire estate when the deceased person dies without a will or heirs. Paradoxically, more than 80 percent of Indians die without making use of this right.