It is difficult, almost inconceivable, to believe and accept that death visits all our doorsteps. Nobody is spared. Like they say in the Harry Potter books, for the well trained mine, death is but the next great adventure, So how do you train yourself for death? We are not going to see the various methods in which to prepare yourself for death from a spiritual perspective. Instead, we are going to prepare ourselves to lead a life that is well planned so that death will not surprise us. So let us see today what a will in India is, and how to prepare a will?
One of my friends’ dad passed away recently. He was suffering from cancer and his death was expected. What was unexpected was the confusion that followed. Since he failed to make a will, his children fought for his property. There was widespread coverage in major newspapers because of which the whole family name got tarnished. And all of this because he did not prepare a simple will.
What is a will or legal will?
A will is a testament by a person by which he/ she instructs how their property is to be distributed after their death. Property here includes cash, bank balances, all kinds of assets and money lying in mutual fund accounts. It does not just mean physical immovable property.
Any will that is prepared according to law and is accepted by a court of law is called a legal will.
What is probate of will in India?
Probate means the process by which the legal executioner of a will proves in a court of law that the will is valid, legal and is the final will of the deceased. This is extremely important because the will has to be proven in a court of law for it to be enforceable. Therefore, the probate of will is critical.
What is the validity of a will in India? What is a valid will?
Under Indian law, a will is said to be valid only if it can be probated in a court of law. As we saw previously, probate means the process by which the legal executioner of a will proves in a court of law that the will is valid, legal and is the final will of the deceased. According to law, a will is valid for a period of 12 years from the date of death of the person. This is called the limitation period of the will.
How much does it cost to make a will in India?
Earlier, the cost of making a will in India used to be a lot. Nowadays, that has reduced tremendously as there are online portals for making the will. It can be made for as less as a thousand rupees today.
How to make a will in India?
Today it is extremely simple to make a will in India. All we would need to do is go online and visit one of the legal websites that aid in making a will. We would need to fill in all the details of ourselves, properties, family members etc. Once that gets done, the automatic will gets printed out and is executed on a stamp paper. It is important to note that to make it valid, it has to be signed in the presence of two witnesses. In just a few clicks, the will can be made at very less cost in India.
Who is an executor? How do you write a will in India?
The role of an executor is extremely important in making a will. The executor is the deemed representative of the assesse. For example, in my friends’ dads case, he would have chosen his lawyer or his friend to be his executor of the will. Once he dies, the executor will get full ownership and control over the properties of the creator of the will. It is the duty of the executor to ensure that he disposes off the property as per rules and regulations mentioned in the will. He can also file cases on behalf of the creator and incur expenses to ensure that the will is carried out as per the wishes of the creator
It is extremely simple to write or make a will in India.
- The first step is to find the assets you have, and the liabilities that you owe.
- The next step is to find out which family members you want to leave your assets to.
- The thirds step is to choose an executor. We should choose an executor who is extremely trustworthy and will not disappoint.
- In case any of the family members are minors, legal guardians will have to be appointed for the same.
- The last step is to sign the will and have the witnesses also sign it.
Example of a Will
The below is an example of sample format or template of a will written in India.
DRAFT OF WILL
- I, ______________, son of Shri _______________, aged __ years, resident of _____________________________, do hereby revoke all my former Wills, Codicils and Testamentary dispositions made by me. and I declare this to be my last Will and Testament.I maintain good health, and possess a sound mind. This Will is made by me of my own independent decision and free volition. Have not be influenced, cajoled or coerced in any manner whatsoever.I hereby appoint my ________________, as the sole Executor of this WILL.The name of my wife is _________________. We have one child namely, (1) __________________ I own following immovable and movable assets.One Flat No.___ in _______________________.2. Jewellery, ornaments, cash, National Saving Certificate, Public Provident Fund, shares in various companies, cash in hand and also with certain banks.All the assets owned by me are self-acquired properties. No one else has any right, title, interest, claim or demand whatsoever on these assets or properties. I have full right, absolute power and complete authority on these assets, or in any other property which may be substituted in their place or places which may be Acquired or received by me hereafter.I hereby give, devise and bequeath all my properties, whether movable or immovable, whatsoever and wheresoever to my wife, _____________________, absolutely forever.IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hands on this ____ day of ____, 20__ at ____________.TESTATRIXSIGNED by the above named Testatrix as his last WILL and Testament in our presence, who appear to have perfectly understood & approved the contents in the presence of both of us presents, at the same time who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses.WITNESSES :1.
- What are the four requirements for a valid will?
The requirements are as follows –
- The will must be executed with the intent of having it probated. – eg. The will should not be written by someone who doesn’t have the intention to take it to court.
- The person writing the will should have the capacity to write it – eg. The person writing the will should not be mentally instable.
- The will should be executed out of free will – eg. There should not be any undue influence or fraud in the will.
How much does it cost to draw up a will with a lawyer? Can we write a will even without a layer at home?
It is astonishing that the average cost of drawing up a will with a lawyer is upwards of ten thousand rupees today. An effective and cheap alternative is to draw up the will at home with the help of various online sites that help us with the same. We have explained the process of drawing a will at home in one of the questions mentioned above. Drawing a will at home will effectively reduce the cost to as less as thousand rupees.
Is a handwritten will legal and valid in India? Does a will have to be registered for it to be valid?
Yes, a handwritten will is valid in India. It is even preferred to a typed will as it cannot be refuted in a court of law. As far as registration of a will is concerned, government rules have been fairly relaxed with the same. No registration is required for wills. These do not have to be on a stamp paper. Stamp duty also need not be paid on wills made in India for it to be valid. Even immovable property wills need not be registered in India.
How do we register a will in India?
Even though registration of a will is not compulsory, it can be registered through a sub-registrar if required. Also a will should be sealed after it is registered and kept in extremely safe custody.
How long does it take for a will to be executed?
For a will to be drawn up, it takes about 80 hours of work to ensure it is created properly and free of error. Similarly, for the will to be proven in a court of law and settlement of property, it takes six months to twelve months.
Who can be a witness to a will?
Generally, a witness to a will is a third person who has no financial interest in the will to be executed. Though the law does not bar family members from being witnesses, it is preferred not to have them as witnesses. For example, in my friends’ dads case it is acceptable for him to appoint my friend as a witness as long as he does not get any part of the property.
What is an e-will?
E-wills are online websites that help in preparing wills. A person interested in preparing wills will only have to enter their details and details of their property, and a will according to a preset format will be created.
Can you just write a will and get it notarized?
Definitely. There are no set rules and regulations for creating a will. It can be as simple as having it handwritten and then getting it registered or notarized by an sub registrar.
Why do we need to date a will? What is the importance of the same?
Even though it is not compulsory to date an invoice, it is generally good practice because it helps us distinguish between different copies of the will. We would be able to analyze and confirm which is the latest copy of the invoice.
Is it possible to contest a will? What are the important grounds on which a will can be contested?
Yes, a will in India can be contested. Generally, a will is contested under the below grounds –
- If the will is not executed properly.
- They do not have any intention.
- If the person executing the will does not have any capacity to execute.
- The will is executed under undue influence
- Also If there is any evidence of fraud or forgery.
- If any family member feels hard done by the will.
Thus, from the above, it is self-evident that creating a will is extremely important in today’s world. What my friends’ family went through because of the lack of creation of Will, nobody else should go through. Therefore a Will should be created making it comfortable for a family to transition through the whole process. They already have enough burden with respect to the death of their family members.
So now you know, how to make a will in India? Also share it with your friends and family.