Will: Meaning, Defination, Law,Types

Updated on : Feb. 27, 2023 - 3 p.m. 17 min read.


In India, a will is a legal document that allows a person to express their wishes for the distribution of their assets and property after their death. The laws governing wills in India are primarily governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1925, which provides the legal framework for creating and executing a will.

According to the Indian Succession Act, a valid will must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Testamentary capacity: The testator must be of sound mind and capable of understanding the nature and consequences of their actions.
  2. Voluntary execution: The will must be executed voluntarily, without any coercion, force, or pressure.
  3. Proper formalities: The will must be in writing and signed by the testator or by someone on their behalf in their presence and with their direction. The signature of the testator or the person signing on their behalf must be witnessed by at least two independent witnesses.
  4. Intention: The will must clearly express the testator's intention to dispose of their assets and property.
  5. Revocability: The will may be revoked or amended by the testator at any time before their death.

It is important to note that there are certain restrictions on the testator's ability to dispose of their assets through a will, particularly with respect to assets that are subject to certain laws, such as joint property, ancestral property, and property acquired through a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). Additionally, certain types of wills, such as privileged wills and mutual wills, have specific requirements that must be met in order to be valid.

A will is a legal document that sets out a person's wishes for the distribution of their assets and property after their death. It is also known as a testamentary document. The person who makes the will is called a testator or testatrix. The will is a legally binding document that ensures that the testator's wishes are carried out according to their instructions after their death.

A will typically includes the following information:

  1. Identification of the testator/testatrix: The full name, age, and address of the person making the will.
  2. Appointment of an executor: The appointment of a person who will manage the estate and carry out the instructions of the will.
  3. Bequests and gifts: The distribution of assets, including property, money, and personal possessions.
  4. Residuary clause: The provision for the distribution of any remaining assets that were not specifically addressed in the will.
  5. Guardian clause: The appointment of a legal guardian for any minor children or dependents of the testator.
  6. Witnesses: The will must be witnessed by at least two independent witnesses who are not beneficiaries under the will.

Types of Will in India

Under Indian law, there are different types of wills that can be created, each with its own specific requirements and procedures. Here are some of the common types of wills in India:

  1. Privileged Will: A privileged will is a will made by a soldier, an airman or a mariner during active service, or by a person who is engaged in any hazardous or dangerous occupation, without complying with the formalities required for an ordinary will.
  2. Unprivileged Will: An unprivileged will is a will that is made by a person who is not in any of the situations listed above for a privileged will.
  3. Oral or Holographic Will: An oral will is one that is spoken by the testator in the presence of witnesses, while a holographic will is one that is entirely handwritten and signed by the testator.
  4. Joint Will: A joint will is one that is made by two or more persons, usually a married couple, who make a single will leaving their property to each other or to a third party.
  5. Mutual Will: A mutual will is a type of joint will that is made by two or more persons and is irrevocable, meaning that neither party can change the terms of the will without the other's consent.

It is important to note that the requirements for creating a valid will can vary depending on the type of will, and it is advisable to seek legal advice when creating or updating a will to ensure that it is legally valid and enforceable.

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