A Will is the least legal of all legal documents and can be made on a plain white paper. Yet more than 80% Indians die without making a Will. Writing a WILL is important from the sense that you and only you should have the right to decide who inherits the fruits of your life-long hard work.
So, who can make a WILL?
Indian Succession Law says that anyone above the age of 18 years and mentally fit can write a WILL. However, if a person loses his/her sanity later on but was mentally fit at the time of making the will, it shall be valid in the eyes of the law.
So, is there a right time to write a WILL? Well, there isn't. It's really an individual choice, no one can force or influence you write a will. It's an expression of your wishes and has to be based on absolute free will.
Next, how to make a Will?
A question that people often ask is whether a will made on plain white paper acceptable in law. The answer is, yes. However, it is essential to sign the will in the presence of someone who can testify as a witness.
It is also not necessary to register a will but if you wish to, a stamp paper would be necessary. Registration of a will is basically an assurance of finality of its content which is why once registered a Will have to be registered each time it is subject to changes.
Now, the provisions of Indian Law of Succession provide for equal distribution of property amongst all the legal heirs including the daughters even if the deceased hasn't left behind any Will.
So, why make a will?
Writing a WILL becomes important if one wants to divide his property unequally among legal heirs or just wants to give all of it to an outsider.
But the point to note here is if the person making the WILL deprives his legal family of the property, then he must provide specific reasons for doing so or the WILL can be challenged later on in the court of law.
The most important thing that needs a mention here is that a WILL can be rejected if it is proven to be made through force, undue influence or fraud.
A WILL doesn't become operational automatically on the death of the person. The beneficiary will have to obtain a probate from the court.
Probation of Will
A probate is a certificate from the court that the WILL is valid. If a probate is taken a notice has to be given to the beneficiaries so that they can file their necessary objections. Even if no objection is given, a court fee has to be paid before a probate is obtained. Even after a will is made a path is left open for the court to hear objections to the will, if any, by the beneficiaries