What is a Will?
Will is a legal instrument that provides guidance on distribution of one’s property after death. There’s no specific format. However, the Will should clearly disclose the intention of the testator without any ambiguity. It can come into effect only after the death and hence, in case of multiple wills, the last Will takes precedence. Continuous review and revision of the Will is recommended to accommodate recent changes and events in the Testator’s life.
Validity of a Will
The person making the Will is called Testator, and for a Will to be legally enforceable, it should contain certain basic elements. Though it is not mandatory as per law to register a will, but registration gives additional legal protection when it is contested. For a Will to be formally valid it must be signed by the testator and two witnesses at the same time in the presence of each other.
Indian Registration Act,1908 deals with the provision of the registration of a Will. Indian Succession Act, 1925, governs the law of succession. However, for some religions, personal laws also come into play in respect of the assets which can be given away through a will. For instance, matters relating to succession and inheritance of a Muslim are governed by Muslim personal laws. The general rule under Muslim personal laws in India is that a Muslim may, by his will, dispose only up to one-third of his property which is left after payment of funeral expenses and debts without the consent of his heirs. Similarly, in case of Indian Christians and Parsis, upon marriage a will stands revoked so needs to be made again.
Legal Requirements of a Testator
- The testator must be of “sound mind” to make a Will, which means that:
- The testator understands he or she is making a Will and knows what a Will is;
- The testator understands his or her relationship to those mentioned in the Will; and
- The testator understands what types of property he or she owns, how much of that property he or she own and how he or she intends to distribute that property.
Who Executes the Will?
Executor is responsible for proper and just administration of the Will. A good Will should clearly specify the list of assets and a manner in which the assets to be distributed.
Why make a will?
A Will could save several heart-breaks within a family. Simply, clear, and unambiguous Will sets out boundaries, duties, and rights with respect to the assets.
- Funeral wishes
- Avoid family disputes
- Child custody
- Tax liabilities
Consult a Top Family Lawyer
Our free initial consultation helps to identify your needs, set priorities, and uncover any complexity with the assets. 30-min, no obligation meeting saves you money, avoid financial risks, and future legal problems. To take advantage of our fixed fee Will drafting and administration services, call or email us with your details.