After the death of a person, his property devolves in two ways:
· According to the respective law of succession, when no will is made- i.e. intestate
· By way of will i.e. testamentary
According to the law of inheritance and succession, if a Hindu male passes away,
· Hindu female shares equally with the male i.e. a son and daughter will succeed with equal shares.
· The wife as well as the mother also gets an equal share.
· There is nothing to prevent a Hindu male from bequeathing his entire property to a stranger if he so desires.
The following persons cannot make a will:
· Lunatics, insane persons.
· Minors i.e. below 18 years of age. In case a guardian is appointed to a minor, such minor reaches age of maturity only at the age of 21 years.
Form of a Will: There is no prescribed form of a Will. In order for it to be effective,
It needs to be properly signed and attested. The Will must be initialled by the testator at the end of every page and next to any correction and alteration.
Language of a Will: A Will can be written in any language. No technical words need to
be used in a Will. The words used should be clear and unambiguous so that the intention of the testator is reflected in his Will.
Stamp Duty: No stamp duty is required to be paid for executing a Will or a codicil. A Will need not be made on stamp paper.
Attestation: A Will must be attested by two witnesses who must witness the testator executing the Will. The witnesses should sign in the presence of each other and in the presence of the testator. However, according to Hindu Law, a witness can be a legatee. Under the Parsi and Christian law, a witness cannot be an executor or legatee. A Muslim is not required to have his Will attested if it is in writing.
Registration: Under section 18 of the Registration Act the registration of a will is not compulsory. The registration is strong legal evidence that the proper parties had appeared before the registering officers and the latter had attested the same after ascertaining their identity. A Will must be proved as duly and validly executed, as required by the Indian Succession Act. Once a Will is registered, it is placed in the safe custody of the Registrar and therefore cannot be tampered with, destroyed, mutilated or stolen. It shall be released only to the testator himself or, after his death, to an authorized person who produces the Death Certificate. The cover should be super scribed with the name of the testator or his agent with a statement of the nature of the document. An amount of Rs. 1,000/- will be charged as fee. The deposited cover may be withdrawn by the testator or his agent on payment of prescribed fee of Rs. 200/-.