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Making a will

Everyone to ensure that his property devolves in a suitable and equitable manner, without any dispute. It is advisable that one should make a will to avoid any confusion at a later stage among the heirs.

Under the provisions of the Indian Succession Act 1925, a will is legal declaration of intention of the testator, with respect to his property, which he desires to be carried into effects after his death. Every person of sound mind, as long he is not a minor, can make a will. If a person is of unsound mind at the time of making a will, the will is not enforceable. A will, obtained by force, coercion or undue influence, is a void will as it takes away the free agency of the person. A will, made under influence of intoxication or in such a state of body or mind, sufficient to take away free agency of a testator, is a viod will. If it is proved so, the will becomes ineffective.

A will can be made at any time in the life of a person. There is no restriction of law as to how many times a will made before his death is enforceable. A will should be made with utmost care, as any unclear provision will not be given effect to. A will has to be executed by the testator, by signing on it. It should be attested by two or more witnesses, each of whom should have seen the testator signing the will. If a testator intends to make few changes in the will, without changing the entire will, he can do so by making a codicil to the will. The codicil can be executed in a similar way as the will. The will or recodicil can be altered or revoked at any time.

Though the registration of a will is not compulsory, it can be registered with the sub-registrar. If, at any time, the testator wishes to withdraw the will, he can do so. A will can be sealed and kept in safe custody. This will is released only to the testator himself or, after his death, to an authorized person who produces the death certificate. At all times, the provisions of the will prevail over the nomination.

On the death of the testator, an executor of the will or heir of the deceased testator can apply for probate. The court will ask the other heirs of the deceased if they have any objections, the court will grant probate. A probate is a copy of a will certified by the court. It is a conclusive evidence of the validity of a will.

In case any objections are raised by any of the heirs, a citation has to be served, calling upon them to consent. This has to be displayed prominently in the court. Thereafter, if no objection is received, the probate will be granted. It is only after this that the will comes into effect.

A will is a legal declaration. Certain formalities must be compiled with in order to make a valid will. It must be some property, which is being given to others after the death of the testator. Also, a will becomes enforceable only after the death of the testator. It gives absolutely no rights to the legatee (the person who inherits) until the death of the testator. It has no effect during the lifetime of the testator. The testator can change his will, at any time prior to his death, in any manner he deems fit.

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