Will deed registration at home is an entirely online process in India. The will can be described as a legally binding document which outlines the manner and procedure of distribution of one’s wealth in case of their death. The person who drafts a will to distribute his assets is referred to as the testator. The distribution of assets, as in the will, takes effect only after the death of the testator and is legally binding.
There are two requirements for someone to create a legally binding will according to Section 59 of the Hindu Succession Act
- The testator must be at least or above 18 years of age.
- The testator must sign the will with a clear mind and free will.
There isn’t a standard or precise format that a will has to adhere to. Furthermore, the will can be made by the testator themselves, or it can be written by consulting with legal professionals. A will must include crucial elements to simplify the distribution of the assets of the testator easier and more efficient. This includes:
- The Beneficiaries’ and the Testator’s Details: Names, ages as well as other important information about the testator and beneficiaries must be clearly outlined to make easy identification and avoid confusion.
- Appointing an Executor: The will should clearly specify an executor to supervise and manage the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.
- Statement: A testator must declare that they’re of a certain age and of sound mind. They are not under any unjust influence or coercion.
- Specifics of the property and Assets and Their Division: The will should include all the pertinent information about the testator’s assets to be divided in addition to the allocation of the property to the beneficiary. If the beneficiary is a minor, the will must specify a property custodian until the minor’s maturity.
- Witnesses and Signatures: The will have to be witnessed by atleast two witnesses. The primary purpose of witnesses is to verify the testator’s identity, so it’s not necessary for the witnesses to know the will’s specifics or content. The signatures must be of both the testator and the witness and on each page of the will.
In India, it is not mandatory to go through the will registration procedure. However, it is still recommended to register a will to avoid any hassles later and ensure a more effortless transfer of assets of the testator at the time of distribution. The will has to be registered with the sub-registrar of assurances, the Government of India, with payment of a small fee.
The registration must be completed in person at the office, and at least two witnesses must be present. After the verification of the will, the document can be retrieved at the sub-registrar’s office at a specified date (typically within a week of the registration date). Following that, a copy of the will is kept in the records of the sub-registrar, and the original will could be handed over to an attorney or a banker.
- Identity proofs like PAN card, Aadhar card, etc. of the testator and witnesses
- A mental fitness test certificate issued by an experienced medical professional is required for the testator
- Passport-sized photographs of the testator and witnesses.
- Registration allows the legal heirs to get the property transferred. However, if the transfer fails, the beneficiaries may be required to follow longer routes by getting probate from a High Court, which involves more time and money.
- It also provides additional legal protection and eliminates any doubts, such as the authenticity of the will identity of the testator, as the sub-registrar has checked these details
- Registering a will gives security against the possibility of the will being altered, stolen, or altered unintentionally because the will’s copy is available with the sub-registrar.
Ques- Who can make a will?
Ans- Anyone over 18 years of age can make a Will with a sound mind, i.e., capable of comprehending his actions and free from undue influences.
Ques- Why should you not wait till old to create a will?
Ans- In the present world of uncertainty, premature death from heart diseases, accidents, and terror attacks are now an everyday occurrence. That’s why many people are taking insurance at the young age of 25 or earlier. It is recommended to make your Will as soon as you reach 18 years old, even if you own a single asset such as a house, an insurance policy, shares or bank accounts.
Ques- How to draft a will?
Ans- Will can be handwritten or typed; however, a typed will is preferred on plain paper as stamp duty payments are exempted in India for a will document. A will should be written in any language which is appropriate for the person who is making it. A Will should include information about your family, your assets/properties, your wishes, your bequeaths (property distribution wishes), the witness names, the date and place of signing, and the signature of the testator and the two witnesses on every page.
Ques- When can I make an oral will?
Ans- This is known as a Special Will, which is only available to airmen, soldiers and navy personnel. Additionally, certain Muslims can make oral wills as per their personal laws.
Ques- Are there different laws for different religions?
Ans- Yes, this refers to Succession laws, where various laws apply according to the deceased’s religious beliefs.
For instance, for Hindus, it’s the Hindu Succession Laws,
In the case of Parsis and Christians, they are subject to the Indian Succession act,
For Muslims, it is as per the Sharia Laws (different rules for Shia, Sunni, Khoja etc.)
Ques- What is the rule for the witnesses of the Will?
Ans- The law states that a Will should be executed in the presence of at least two witnesses. It is not required that witnesses read the contents of the will. The purpose of witnesses is to ensure that the Will was executed in their presence. As per the law, courts can call witnesses in case of any question on the legality/authenticity of the will.
Ques- What is an Executor? Do you need to appoint an Executor to a Will?
Ans- While it is not mandatory to choose an executor, it is advised to appoint one in the will for a more efficient and smooth distribution of assets. An executor is a person who is appointed by the person making a Will to be authorized to carry out the wishes stated in the Will. An Executor could be anyone who is named as a beneficiary in the Will or any other trusted person such as a family member, lawyer or CA who can help the family to act as per your wishes stated in the Will.