Wills & Testamentary – Basics

Meaning

A “Will” is a testamentary document which carries the maker’s/testator’s intention, in writing, to dispose of any property in his/her name and the manner in which such disposition shall take place.

A person can alter/modify his/her Will umpteen number of times before his/her death. But every time a new Will or change is made, the previous Will has to be revoked.

Any change to a will may be made by a new Will or a ‘Codicil/Supplementary Will’ made in addition/modification to the existing Will. Such Codicil can either add to, modify the content (as required) of the original/previous Will.

A Will should be signed by the testator and minimum Two (2) witnesses who should be of the age of majority (above 18 years). Moreover, it is wise to choose witnesses who can survive the testator so that, they can testify the Will if so, required after the testator’s death. It’s better to have witnesses who doesn’t have any personal interest in the Will, but who are not complete strangers. They should be known so that, the testator and his/her family can rely on them.

Governing Statute

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 is the statute that governs provisions related to Wills.

Who can make a Will?  

Any person who fulfils the following criteria can make a Will:

  1. An individual who has attained the age of majority, that is, who is above 18 years of age;
  2. An individual who is of sound mind (in case of individuals who suffer from depression or anxiety attacks, a Will can be made during the time when such individual is mentally stable i.e. the gap between 2 attacks or phases); or
  3. An individual who has some property to be disposed of, in his/her name.
When to make a Will?

In the ancestral era, people had this notion that Will is supposed to be made just before death. However unfortunately, death doesn’t come with a prior intimation. Hence, it has become essential for individuals who fulfil the above criteria, to make a Will irrespective of their health condition and age factor.

For more information regarding execution and other details of drawing up a Will, please read our article.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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