A ‘will’ is a document made by a testator (a person who is making a will) before his death, where he expresses how he wishes his property to be distributed after his death. The document becomes legally enforceable only if it is written and signed by the testator and at least two witnesses who have seen the testator signing the will. A will comes into effect only after the death of the testator and has no significance during his lifetime. Though it is not compulsory to register a will, the testator may choose to register it with Sub-Registrar in jurisdiction of the property lies. It is always advisable to register a will as registering gives it a legal backing to the testator in case of any disputes which may arise in the future, such as disputes regarding the validity of the will.
Who can make a will?
Any person who is a major and has good mental health can make a will. A will obtained by force or undue influence will not be valid as it has not been made by the free will of the testator. A person can make a will at any time during his lifetime, provided he is a major. There is no restriction on age or the number of times a will can be made.
How does a will come into force?
The testator appoints a person called as an ‘executor’ to look after the property in the will after his death. If not, the court appoints an executor. On the death of the testator, the appointed executor can apply to the district court for an order confirming the authority of the executor to take care and distribute the property. The district court will study the will and if the legal heirs of the testator have no objection to the will, the court will authorise the executor to deal with the property as per the provisions of the will.
Major Components of Will
The will should contain testator’s name, father’s name, residential address, Date of Birth.
Declaration of Date
It is very important to clearly mention the date of preparing of the Will.
Validate Free Will
It is necessary to mention that you are not under any influence and you are not forced to prepare this Will by any person.
Executor is the person who will implement/execute your Will. Hence, clearly mention his/her name, address, your relationship with him/her, age etc.,
Details of Assets & Beneficiaries
List all immovable properties with clear addresses. Mention the movable assets like bank deposits, insurance, units of mutual funds etc., Mention the name of beneficiary for asset.
Sign the Will after mentioning the above details. The Will need to be attested by minimum two witnesses. Make sure that they mention their father’s names and addresses.
Advantages of Registering Will
- The will cannot be tampered, destroyed, lost or stolen. (If Will is registered)
- The will is kept in safe custody by the registrar.
- No person can access or examine the will without the express permission in writing of the testator until his/ her death.
- If a registered will is uncontested, it may be possible to get the leasehold property mutated in the name of the legal heirs without obtaining a probate of the will.