October 2018

Registration of Wills

Dr. Anup P. Shah, Chartered Accountant

Introduction

One of the modes of succession is through a will, also known as testamentary succession. A will is a document which contains the last wishes of a person as regards the manner and mode of disposition of his property. The making of wills in India is governed by the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (“the Act”). While intestate succession is different for different religions, the law governing the making of wills is the same for people of all religions except Muslims. The Act does not apply to wills made by Muslims as they are governed by their respective Shariat Laws. Succession, whether through wills or otherwise, always has some interesting issues, one such being whether a will should be registered and if yes, does it have any special advantages?

 

Meaning

As the term `will’ indicates, it signifies a wish, desire, choice, etc., of a person. A person expresses his will as regards the disposition of his property. The Act defines a will to mean “the legal declaration of the intention of the testator with respect to his property which he desires to be carried into effect after his death”. The General Clauses Act, 1897, defines the term will to include “a codicil and every writing making a voluntary posthumous disposition of property”. The Indian Penal Code defines a will to denote any testamentary document.

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