What Is a Will ?

A will is a legal document by which one person authorizes one or more persons to handle his or her property after death. In other words, it is a legal declaration made by a person to transfer his or her property to his family, relative or a known person after death.

Will should always be registered. It can be made by anyone after attaining the age of 18 years. The property of the owner is distributed among one or more persons in the manner as stated by the owner in the will. This legal document comes into effect only after the death of the testator (the person who made the will).

In case the testator dies without making his or her will, such situation may arise family disputes among the family members and there may be a possibility of litigations in the court. Therefore, it is advisable that the will should be well drafted and registered before it becomes too late.

Drafting of Will

Many people now days try to save money when it comes to drafting a will. People now days draft their will themselves or hire unqualified document writers in order to save few thousand rupees and put their entire savings and properties at risk. In case, the will is not drafted properly, it becomes easy for other family members to challenge it in the court of law. Lack of clarity in the will can also make a ground for others to challenge the will. Therefore, a will should be properly drafted, reviewed and registered by a good lawyer or an advocate.


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Points to remember while drafting a will

The following points should be taken care of while drafting a will –

  1. The will must be made in writing (Typed wills are preferred). Bad handwriting in the will can lead to confusion)
  2. It should be typed considering adequate margin on both the sides.
  3. Mention the proper name, address of the testator in the will.
  4. It should be stated in the will that the testator is in a sound state of mind and taking the decision of making a will voluntarily.
  5. Necessity or urgency of the execution of the will should also be mentioned in the will.
  6. It must be in simple and clear language.
  7. List of all the family members and individuals who will be beneficiaries of the property of the testator.
  8. It must be mention in the will that no one is forcing you to make the will.
  9. You can appoint an executor
  10. You should make each new bequest of property in a new paragraph.
  11. Do not leave any blank spaces in the will.
  12. The testator must sign each page of the will.
  13. It must be attested by the two witnesses. It is better, if one among the two witnesses is doctor.

Process of Will registration

The process of will registration is as follows –

Firstly, you need to produce photographs, address proof as well as the witnesses who will sign the will. The witnesses of the will also need to produce their address proof and photographs. You need to pay stamp duty as well. All the registration process will happen at sub-registrar office.

After drafting the will, a witness along with the testator goes to the registrar for the purpose of registration.

After registering the will, it is handed over to the lawyer or kept in a safe custody in a bank locker due to security purposes. Registrar also has the authority to hold the will. In case you choose the option of registrar to secure your will, testator needs to submit his will in a sealed cover to the registrar. It can also be done by any other person duly authorized by the testator. The registrar holds the cover of the will in his hand only after authenticating the identity of the person authorized by the testator.

In case you change your mind and want to withdraw the will you submitted to the registrar, you can send personal request to the registrar to handover the will. Request can be sent through authorized agent also. If registrar is satisfied, it will be delivered to the testator or authorized person.

In case you want to modify certain clauses of your will. It can be done by a document name codicil (document enlisting the amended parts of the will). After modifying the clauses, the will is attested by the testator in the presence of two witnesses.

In case, if the testator dies, the cover containing the will is only opened by the registrar when he becomes satisfied that the testator is dead. After confirming that the testator is dead, the cover of the will is opened by the registrar in the presence of applicant and the copy of the same is provided to the applicant. The original will is retained by the registrar in his custody till the court orders to officially produce the original will.

Advantages of registering a will

The advantages of registering a will are as follows –

  • It can be kept in safe custody by the registrar.
  • It cannot be tampered, destroyed, lost or stolen.
  • No person can access or examine the will without taking the permission of the testator in writing until his or her death.
  • In case registered will is uncontested or undisputed, it may be possible to get the leasehold property mutated in the name of legal heirs (Person who takes interest in the assets of deceased person) without obtaining a probate of the will.

Disadvantages of registering a will

The disadvantages of registering a will are as follows –

  • Revocation of a registered will is difficult to handle in comparison to revocation of an unregistered will.
  • In case registered will is revoked, the subsequent will be made by the person should also be a registered will.
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