A Will is a testimonial document through which an individual bequeaths his property.
Property is kept in the family and given from one generation to the next through a Will. This document, however, is governed by a number of rules and regulations and it is essential that you have complete clarity on the issue, especially if you want to get what is due to you. For starters, a Will is a testimonial document through which an individual bequeaths his property. This comes into effect on his death and the property will be given to the person nominated.
For a Will to be seen through, an executor has to be appointed. If you are creating your Will, choose a person who is of legal age and of sound mind who should voluntarily agree to the job of execution and should not be coerced in any manner. The parents or guardians of those who are mentally unstable do not qualify as executors for property.
The Will has to be attested by two individuals and this cannot include the lawyer with whom you are consulting. They have to be completely independent. Even the beneficiary of the Will is not allowed to attest as a witness. To prevent any form of miscommunication in the execution of the Will, it is important that details of the property be distinct and clear and the names of the people receiving it be clearly mentioned.
Does a Will have to be registered? Those executing the Will may choose to register it, but it is not mandatory. Registering has its advantages. In the case of losing the original Will, a copy can be obtained from the sub-registrar’s office.
The Will can be registered at any point in time at any sub-registrar’s office across the country. Should the maker of the Will die, the Will can still be registered provided one is able to bring forth authentic documents related to the death of the person, the witness and the scribe who made the will. It is based on the discretion of the sub-registrar to register it as genuine. Registration is done for a specific fee, but is higher in case done after the death of the person concerned. Alterations to the Will can always be carried out. The maker of the Will is free to cancel the Will at any point and this is done with an applicable stamp duty. Additions to the document can be done at any point in the lifetime of the maker and the additional document is referred to as the codicil. There is no requirement of a stamp duty for this.
During the lifetime of the maker of the Will, only he is entitled to a registered copy of the Will. It is available to all only after his death.
If one wants to keep the contents of the document confidential, h/she will have to submit it at the sub-registrar’s office in a sealed envelope. Only the maker or an authorised person will be allowed to withdraw it.
On the death of the person, an application has to be submitted along with the death certificate of the depositor. The sealed cover is opened in front of the applicant with a fee applicable. A certified copy is then provided.
With the death of the Will holder, the property will now have to be transferred and a change of khata obtained. This can be done at the office of the authority concerned along with copies of the Will and the death certificate.