Valid Wills are signed and dated and contain the signatures of witnesses. The number of witnesses depends on the regulation of the state.
What are the Different Types of Wills?
Will refers to the legal document stating how individuals wish to allocate and distribute their properties and spend their money after death. According to the Indian Succession Act of 1925, there are two major types of Wills; which are privileged and unprivileged Wills.
Besides these two, some other variants of wills are legally recognised and executed. Here is all you need to know about those.
What is a Will?
As mentioned in Section 2(h) of the Indian Succession Act, the term ‘Will’ means testators’ declaration about how their wealth and property will be distributed or inherited after their death. Here testators are individuals who write wills.
An absence of a Will makes it difficult for legal heirs to acquire the properties and wealth of the deceased. In this scenario, the heirs must depend on legal proceedings to distribute properties and estates. This is why you should write a Will before your death to ensure that your hard-earned wealth goes to your successors according to your intention.
Which Types of Wills Are There in India?
1. Privileged Will
The privileged Will comes under Section 65 of the Indian Succession Act. In this will, testators can be active airmen, soldiers or mariners who can make their Wills by writing their declaration of intention down on paper or through word of mouth.
The major reason for introducing this type of Will is to ensure that such professionals can write their Wills quickly without waiting longer for the conventional legal proceedings to complete.
2. Unprivileged Will
The unprivileged Will come under Section 63 of the Indian Succession Act. Unprivileged Will is not limited to airmen, soldiers and mariners. Instead, all individuals except the said professionals can be testators of this type of Will.
To make a valid unprivileged Will, testators must put their signature or affix their thumb mark on it in the presence of at least two witnesses. Nevertheless, another person can sign on the paper if a testator directs. In such a scenario, testators must be present while someone signs on their Will.
3. Conditional WillAs the name suggests, a conditional Will comes into effect only after fulfilling certain predetermined circumstances. A time frame can be attached to the written statement of the Will. In case of non-occurrence of those conditions, the bequeathing of properties will not happen.
4. Concurrent Will
A concurrent Will contains a testator’s declaration of intention regarding the disposition of properties, covering different aspects. There can be two or more Wills about the distribution of properties upon a testator’s death.
Generally, testators make this kind of Will when they have properties across different locations. By writing more than one Will, they can eliminate the chances of confusion. It is especially helpful when testators have properties in different countries. It becomes easy for them to keep in mind the regulations of different countries while writing each of their Wills.
5. Joint WillTwo or more testators formulate a Joint Will with commonly agreed terms. They record their intention to pass on property ownership or distribute it to a legatee. Any married couple with two spouses can create such testamentary documents to ensure that children from their first marriage get the ownership of a property, not the new spouse.
6. Mutual WillIn Mutual Wills, usually, two testators record their declaration of intention to pass on the ownership of a property to the other after the demise of either of them. Married couples often create this kind of Will to protect the surviving spouse's interest upon the other partner's death.
7. Duplicate Will
A testator may create more than one Will recording the same intention regarding property distribution. In such a case, these documents will be called duplicate Wills. Despite more than one copy, they are considered as a single Will.
Testators create this duplicate record to ensure their Wills are properly executed upon death. They keep one of these types of Wills with them and duplicate ones on their bank lockers, with a trustee, or with an executor. Duplicate Wills can serve as a valid testamentary record for the distribution of property.
8. Holograph WillHandwritten Wills created by testators are known as Holographic Wills. This testamentary record is handwritten, so they serve as valid proof of the testators' intention to distribute their properties. If there is no suspicion regarding the creation of that Will, the property mutation can be done according to the written record.
9. Sham Will
This type of Will is created to deceive people and acquire properties illegally and unethically; therefore, these Wills are legally invalid. Anyone can create a Sham Will by coercing the testator.
There are several types of Will in India, all with unique objectives. Now that you know them, you can determine which type of Will you should create to declare your intention of distributing your property and wealth.
FAQs About Different Types of Will
Testators can create a Will for any moveable or immovable properties, given that they are rightful owners and those properties are self-acquired. They cannot create a valid Will for their ancestral properties.
Yes, you can make a legal challenge against a Will. However, you can do so for up to 12 years, starting from the testator's death.
Testators can change the provisions stated in their Wills as often as they want. Only the last change before their death will be deemed valid and enforceable.
Airmen, soldiers or mariners need to write down the entire Will by their hand, or if someone else writes it partly or wholly, testators need to put their signature on it. Declaration of Will through word of mouth is also considered authentic privileged Will.
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