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Is it necessary to register a will for it to be a valid document?


I am a 70 year old retired service personnel living with my wife and two children (daughter and son). Right now, we all have a cordial relationship. However, I have prepared a will on 10 stamp paper attested by a notary. Is this acceptable as a legal document or should it be registered separately?

—Ajay Kumar Gupta

As per your question, we understand that you are a Hindu. We are assuming that no one else has any right or interest in the property and that you were the only one in possession of the same. Also, we assume that your property is self-earned and self-created.

Registration of a will is not mandatory in India. A will made on non-judicial stamped paper is valid provided that the will is attested by at least two witnesses.

However, it is often recommended to register a will with the sub-registrar as it provides additional legal authenticity and helps prevent potential disputes or challenges to the validity of the will.

We will always recommend making a will that covers all property and assets you own. In addition, you can also define to whom (desired beneficiaries) each property or assets should be distributed and in what ratio it should be distributed.

Make sure you provide an accurate description of the property, provide details of the beneficiaries named in the will along with some form of identification, appoint the executor of the will and have the will witnessed by at least two witnesses. In case you are excluding a family member who is ideally an heir to your assets, it would be wise to describe why you would be excluding.

However, don’t forget to update your will periodically to reflect changes in your assets, beneficiaries or other circumstances.

To ensure that your will is legally valid and meets your specific circumstances, it is advisable to consult with a qualified legal professional or an attorney who specializes in wills and estate planning in your jurisdiction. They can provide personalized advice and guide you through the appropriate legal procedures based on your situation.

Neha Pathak is the head and estate planning, Motilal Oswal Private Wealth.

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Updated: 31 October 2023, 09:19 PM IST

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