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Types of Wills in India


Types of Wills in India

Will is a type of legal document used to transfer the property of a person after death as per his/her wishes. The importance of Will cannot be stressed enough as lakhs of civil cases are pending before various Courts for resolving inheritance disputes. Further, all Wills are revocable at any time during the life of the person and is a confidential document. Hence, it is important for everyone to know about the benefits of having a Will and create a Will.

Unprivileged Will

Will created by a person who is not a soldier employed in an expedition or engaged in actual warfare or a mariner at sea is known as an unprivileged Will. For an unprivileged Will to be valid, it must satisfy the following conditions:

  • The person creating the Will must sign or affix his/her mark to the Will. Else, some other person should sign as per the directions of the testator (Person creating the Will) in his/her presence.
  • The signature or mark of the testator or the signature of the person signing for the testator must be placed so that it appears that it was intended to give effect to the writing as Will.
  • The two or more witnesses should attest to the will. The witnesses must have seen the testator sign or affix his mark to the Will or has seen some other people sign the Will, in the presence and by the direction of the testator.

Privileged Will

Privileged Wills are Wills that may be in writing or made by word of mouth by those in active services like a soldier, airman or mariner. The legal requirement for the validity of a privileged Will has been reduced to enable certain persons to quickly make a Will. The following conditions are applicable for a privileged Will:

  • The testator writes the whole will with his own hand. In such a case, it need not be signed or attested.
  • The testator should sign the privileged Will written wholly or in part by another person. In such a case, there is no requirement for attestation.
  • A Will written wholly or partly by another person and not signed by the testator is a valid Will if it is proved that it was written by the testator’s directions or that the testator recognized it as his/her Will.
  • A half-completed privileged Will is also considered valid if it is proved that non-execution was due to some other reason and does not appear to be an abandonment of intentions to create a Will.
  •  A privileged Will can be made by word of mouth by declaring intentions.
  • If a soldier or airman or mariner has given written or verbal instruction for the preparation of a Will but has died before it could be prepared and executed. And such will is a valid Will.

Conditional or Contingent Wills

A Will can be expressed to take effect only in the event of satisfying certain conditions or can be contingent upon other factors. Such a Will, which is valid only in the event of the happening of some contingency or condition, and if the contingency does not happen or the condition fails, is called a conditional or contingent Will.

Joint Wills

Joint Will is a type of Will wherein two or more persons agree to make a conjoint Will. If a Joint Will intends to take effect after the death of both persons, then it would not be enforceable during the life-time of either. The person at any time during the joint lives or after the death of one can revoke the joint will.

Concurrent Wills

Concurrent Wills are written by one person wherein two or more Wills provide instructions for disposal of property for the sake of convenience. For instance, one Will could deal with the disposal of all immovable property whereas another Will deals with the disposal of all movable property.

Mutual Wills

In a Mutual Will, the testators confer upon each other reciprocal benefits. A husband and wife will execute a mutual will to pass on all benefits to the other person during their lifetime.

Duplicate Wills

 The testator will create a duplicate will for the sake of safety or safekeeping with a bank or executor or trustee. However, if the testator destroys the Will in his/her custody, then the other Will is also considered revoked.

Sham Wills

Sham Wills are executed but held invalid if the testator does not intend to execute as per his/her wishes. As per the Indian Succession Act, a Will made by fraud or coercion or by taking away the free agency of the testator is considered invalid.

Holograph Wills

The testator writes this holograph wills entirely in its own handwriting.

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