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A will is a legal declaration by a person, the testator, providing directions for the disposal of his personal property on his demise. A will deed ensures that the disposal of a person’s property is according to his wishes, thereby, preventing any future dispute between the heirs. A will is a unilateral document that takes effect after the death of the testator. It can be revoked or altered by the testator at any time when he is competent to dispose of his property.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who can make a will?
Section 59 of the Indian Succession Act 1925, provides that every person of sound mind and above 18 years of age can make a will, provided it has been made without coercion. However, Muslims cannot bequeath their property through a will and are required to follow the Muslim law of succession.
2. Does a will need to be registered? When can it be registered?
Section 18 of the Registration Act 1908, provides that the registration of the wills is optional. However, it is advisable to register a will to avoid future family disputes, as a registered will has a higher evidentiary value. Section 40 of the Registration Act 1908 states that the testator, or after his death any person claiming to be an executor or otherwise under the will, may present it to any Registrar or Sub-Registrar for registration.
3. What are the advantages of a will?
The following advantages are enjoyed on the execution of a will
3.1 Avoidance of family disputes;
3.2 Willful disposal of assets after death;
3.3 Prohibits encroachment;
3.4 Prevents interruptions in business by proper disposal of business interests; and
3.5 Eases and quickens the probate process on the execution of the will.
4. Can a will be revoked or altered?
Section 62 of the Indian Succession Act 1925, mentions that the testator may revoke or alter his will. Further, Section 70 of the Indian Succession Act 1925 provides that a will is automatically revoked if the testator gets married after creating the will.
5. Can revoked will be revived?
Section 73 of the Indian Succession Act 1925 provides that a person can revive a revoked will by re-executing it.
6. I am a Hindu who is a coparcener of a Hindu undivided family; can I bequeath my property through a will?
Yes, a Hindu Coparcener may bequeath his property through a will under section 59 of the Indian Succession Act 1925. Further, a will is protected under section 5 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. However, the coparcener shall only be capable to bequeath his self-acquired property and not the ancestral property.