As the saying goes you have to have a Will to have a way. The road to inheritance is universally paved by the existence of a Will. You need not be the Ambani or Birla family you could just be a Chandni Chowk shop-keeper working hard all day to provide the best for your family. But after your demise all that you leave behind as your legacy Will need a Will to have a way for distribution fairly as you may have wished for, and also to keep things from getting overly complicated.
However, despite the fact this is such an important step in financial planning and management, it is rarely given any importance in Indian families. So, here is a complete guide to everything you must know about a Will.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that officiates and declares the names of individuals who will receive the property and possessions of a person after his/her death and also speaks about their proportions. This document can be revoked, modified or even substituted by a person executing that in his or her lifetime.
Who can create a Will?
Any person who is in his or her right mind and is not a minor can create a Will to bequeath their possessions with help of this legal document. A person with a disability like blindness, deafness or muteness can also create a Will if he or she understands the consequences of the Will. A person with some form of psychological misbalance can also create a Will but provided they be lucid during the process. The only condition remains that if a person does not know what he is doing he cannot make a Will.
How to register a document as a will?
It is not mandatory to register a Will by law and even a Will written on a plain piece of paper in the right state of mind can be valid as a Will. But to avoid any doubts with the authenticity of the document it is simply better to get the document registered as a Will.
To register your Will all you have to do is visit the sub-registrar’s office along with eligible witnesses. Different sub-registrar is deemed with the responsibility of each district and you must find out from the authorities which one is yours.
Will is legal evidence:
After proper registration a Will acts as legal evidence. One has to write the Will stating that they are doing so in their own free will and is not being coerced or anything and is also in the right state of mind. The Will needs to be signed by the executor of the same and at least two witnesses must sign the Will. No stamp duty is required on a Will hence it does not need to be written on stamp paper.
Types of Wills:
There are broadly two types of Wills – privileged and unprivileged. A privileged Will is the one written by soldiers, army men and sea mariners who actively partake in life threatening expeditions like war. All other forms of Wills are categorised under unprivileged category. The former type of Will can be made in both writing as well as verbally and is often done within short notice when such individuals are called for life threatening missions. But the latter requires formalities to be followed.
Legal requirements for a witness:
For a Will to be valid any beneficiary mentioned in the Will cannot be a witness.
For safe custody of a Will:
For ensuring safe custody of a Will as per the Indian Registration Act, 1908 a copy of the same within a sealed envelope with name of the testator and his agent mentioned on it, can be deposited at the registrar’s office for safe custody of the document.
Revocation of the Will:
One may voluntarily revoke a Will or it can also happen involuntarily. An involuntary revocation of a Will only happens by law. A Will made by a testator gets revoked automatically once he/she marries. And this is not valid for the first marriage but for all subsequent marriages. One can make a Will unlimited number of times but the only one that will remain enforceable is the most recent one before his/her death.
Any mark or signature of the testator of the Will is absolutely mandatory for validity of the Will. A Will without any sign will not be deemed valid. Another individual may sign in the presence of the testator if he/she is unfit to do so. But this is only allowed with the consent of the testator. The witnesses must also sign the Will in case of an unprivileged one.