Legal Article

Whether registration of Will is mandatory in India

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

Article

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Published on: 31 Jul, 2023

No, the registration of a Will is not mandatory in India. A Will can be either registered or unregistered. Both registered and unregistered Wills are legally valid, and their validity is determined based on the execution requirements specified in the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

To create a valid Will in India, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Testamentary Capacity: The testator must be of sound mind and capable of understanding the nature and consequences of making a Will.
  2. Voluntary Execution: The Will must be executed by the testator voluntarily and without any coercion.
  3. Signature: The testator must sign the Will or affix their mark in the presence of at least two witnesses.
  4. Witnessing: The Will must be attested by at least two witnesses who must sign in the presence of the testator.

Whether you choose to register your Will or not depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Registering a Will involves recording it with the appropriate government authority, usually the Sub-Registrar or Registrar of Assurances.

Registration provides an additional layer of evidence and protection against potential challenges to the Will’s authenticity in the future. It also helps establish the date of execution of the Will, which can be useful if there are multiple versions of the Will or disputes among the beneficiaries.

While registration can be beneficial, many people opt for unregistered Wills due to various reasons, including privacy concerns, avoiding registration fees, or the complexity of the registration process.

Whether you decide to register your Will or keep it unregistered, it is essential to ensure that the Will is properly drafted, signed, and witnessed in accordance with the legal requirements to ensure its validity. It is advisable to consult with a qualified lawyer to help you create a valid Will that reflects your intentions and ensures a smooth distribution of your assets as per your wishes.

Process of registration of will

The process of registering a Will in India involves following certain steps and procedures. Here’s a general overview of how to register a Will:

Step 1: Draft the Will First, you need to draft the Will carefully, stating your intentions regarding the distribution of your assets after your demise. You may choose to seek the assistance of a lawyer to ensure that the Will is legally sound and covers all the necessary details.

Step 2: Visit the Sub-Registrar’s Office Once the Will is drafted, you must visit the office of the Sub-Registrar or Registrar of Assurances in the jurisdiction where the property or assets mentioned in the Will are located. If the Will covers properties located in different jurisdictions, it is advisable to register it separately in each jurisdiction.

Step 3: Gather Required Documents When you visit the Sub-Registrar’s office, you will need to bring the following documents:

a. The original Will: You should carry the original Will along with a few photocopies.

b. Identity proof: Carry your identity proof, such as Aadhaar card, passport, voter ID, etc.

c. Two witnesses: Bring along two witnesses who were present during the Will’s execution. They should have valid identity proofs as well.

Step 4: Pay Registration Fees You will be required to pay the applicable registration fees, which may vary depending on the value of the assets mentioned in the Will.

Step 5: Execute the Registration The registration process involves the following steps:

a. Verification of Identity: The Sub-Registrar will verify the identity of the testator (person making the Will) and the witnesses.

b. Witnessing: The testator and the witnesses will be required to sign the Will in the presence of the Sub-Registrar.

c. Recording: The Sub-Registrar will record the Will in their register and provide a registration number and date.

d. Certified Copies: You will receive certified copies of the registered Will for your records.

It is essential to keep the certified copies in a safe place and inform your beneficiaries or executor of the Will about its location.

Registering a Will adds an additional layer of legal validity and provides better evidence of its authenticity. However, it is not mandatory, and an unregistered Will can also be legally valid if it meets the execution requirements under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

Remember that this is a general outline of the registration process and can vary slightly based on the specific state or union territory in India. It is always advisable to consult with a local lawyer or legal expert for detailed guidance and to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.