Will

Updating Your Registered Will: What You Need to Know

calendar15 Apr, 2023
timeReading Time: 7 Minutes
Registered will

A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. It is a crucial document that ensures your loved ones receive your property as per your wishes. However, your life and circumstances can change after you have made your will, and you may need to update it. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of updating your registered will and what you need to know about it, with proper Indian provisions.

Why should you update your will?

There are several reasons why you may need to update your registered will in India. Here are a few common ones:

  1. Changes in personal circumstances: Marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a family member are all life events that may require you to revise your will.
  2. Changes in financial circumstances: Significant changes in your financial situation, such as acquiring or disposing of assets, may require you to update your will to reflect your current financial situation.
  3. Changes in the law: Changes in the law may affect the distribution of your assets. Updating your will can ensure that your assets are distributed according to the latest legal provisions.
  4. Changes in your wishes: As you age or gain new life experiences, you may change your mind about how you want your assets to be distributed. Updating your will can ensure that your wishes are respected.

What are the legal provisions for updating a will in India?

Under the Indian Succession Act of 1925, you can update your will at any time during your lifetime. However, there are specific legal provisions you need to follow while updating your registered will. Here are the key provisions:

  1. A registered will only be changed by making a new will or codicil: A codicil is a supplementary document that amends, rather than replaces, an existing will. However, if the changes are significant, it is advisable to make a new will.
  2. The new will or codicil must be executed in the same way as the original will: The new will or codicil must be signed by you and witnessed by at least two witnesses, as per the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
  3. The new will or codicil must expressly revoke all previous wills and codicils: To avoid confusion, the new will or codicil must expressly state that it revokes all previous wills and codicils.
  4. The new will or codicil must be dated: The new will or codicil must be dated, and the date must be mentioned at the beginning of the document.
  5. The new will or codicil must be registered: Registering the new will or codicil is not mandatory, but it is advisable. Registering the will or codicil ensures that there is no ambiguity or dispute regarding its validity.

How to Update a Registered Will?

If you have a registered will and you want to make changes or updates to it, you have two options:

  1. Execute a new will: You can create a new will that revokes the old one and includes the updated information. This new will must be executed and registered in the same manner as your previous will. It’s important to note that the new will must explicitly revoke the previous one to avoid confusion or conflicts.
  2. Codicil: A codicil is a legal document that amends or supplements an existing will. It is essentially an addition to the original will that does not revoke the entire will. A codicil can be used to make minor changes to a will, such as updating beneficiaries or changing the executor. However, if the changes are significant, it may be better to execute a new will instead of using a codicil. Like a will, a codicil must be executed and registered in accordance with the law.

It’s important to ensure that any updates or changes to your will are made properly to avoid any confusion or disputes. It’s recommended to consult with a lawyer to ensure that your will and any updates to it are executed in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.

In order to update your registered will, you will need to follow the steps below:

  1. Review your existing will: Before making any updates or changes, it’s important to review your existing will to determine what changes need to be made. Make a list of any updates or changes you want to make.
  2. Consult with a lawyer: It’s recommended that you consult with a lawyer to ensure that any updates or changes to your will are made properly and in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. The lawyer can advise you on whether to execute a new will or use a codicil.
  3. Execute a new will or codicil: Depending on the changes you want to make, you will need to execute a new will or a codicil. A new will must be signed in the presence of witnesses and registered with the relevant authority. A codicil must also be signed and witnessed, but it does not need to be registered separately.
  4. Keep your will updated: It’s important to review and update your will regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes. Life events such as marriage, divorce, and the birth of children can affect your will, so it’s important to keep it up to date.
  5. Revocation clause: It’s important to include a revocation clause in any new will or codicil to revoke any previous wills or codicils. This clause ensures that your new will or codicil is the most up-to-date and accurate reflection of your wishes.
  6. Notify relevant parties: After updating your will, it’s important to notify relevant parties, such as your executor and beneficiaries, of the changes. This will help to avoid any confusion or disputes later on.
  7. Keep your will safe: Once you have executed a new will or codicil, it’s important to keep it safe and secure. You may want to store it in a safe or safety deposit box and ensure that your executor or a trusted family member knows where to find it in the event of your passing.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your registered will is properly updated and reflects your current wishes. It’s important to remember that any updates or changes should be made in consultation with a lawyer to ensure that they are executed properly and in accordance with the law.

Why updating your will is important?

Updating your will is important for several reasons:

  • Ensures your wishes are followed: By updating your will, you can ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected and followed. Life events such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of children can impact your wishes and should be reflected in your will.
  • Avoids disputes and conflicts: If your will is not up to date, it can lead to confusion and disputes among your beneficiaries or family members. By updating your will, you can help to avoid any conflicts or misunderstandings that may arise.
  • Keeps your estate plan current: Your estate plan is a dynamic document that should be reviewed and updated regularly. By updating your will, you can ensure that your estate plan remains current and reflects any changes in your personal or financial circumstances.
  • Protects your assets: An up-to-date will can help to protect your assets and ensure that they are distributed according to your wishes. This can include protecting assets from creditors or ensuring that they are distributed to your intended beneficiaries.
  • Provides peace of mind: Updating your will can provide you with peace of mind knowing that your wishes are accurately reflected and your assets will be distributed as you intended. This can also provide comfort to your loved ones knowing that they are following your wishes.
  • Changes in tax laws: Tax laws can change over time, and these changes can impact your estate plan. By updating your will, you can ensure that it reflects any changes in tax laws[1] and takes advantage of any new tax planning opportunities.
  • Changes in relationships: Relationships with family members or beneficiaries can change over time. By updating your will, you can ensure that it reflects any changes in these relationships and addresses any new beneficiaries or family members that should be included.
  • Ensures the executor is up to date: Your executor is responsible for carrying out the provisions of your will. By updating your will, you can ensure that your executor is up to date and still willing and able to serve in this role.
  • Provides for your pets: If you have pets, it’s important to ensure that they are provided for in your will. By updating your will, you can ensure that your pets are taken care of and provided for after your passing.
  • Provides for charitable giving: If you have charitable causes or organizations that are important to you, updating your will can ensure that they are provided for and supported after your passing.
  • Protects your family’s interests: An up-to-date will can help protect your family’s interests and provide for their financial security. This can include providing for your spouse, children, and other family members in the event of your passing.
  • Ensures your healthcare wishes are followed: Updating your will can also include provisions for your healthcare and end-of-life wishes. This can include appointing a healthcare proxy or providing instructions for life-sustaining treatment.
  • Provides for special needs or disabled family members: If you have family members with special needs or disabilities, updating your will can ensure that they are provided for and have access to the necessary resources and support after your passing.
  • Ensures business continuity: If you own a business, updating your will can ensure that it continues to operate smoothly after your passing. This can include appointing a successor or providing for the transfer or sale of the business.
  • Helps to avoid probate: An up-to-date will can help to avoid probate, which can be time-consuming and expensive. By updating your will and ensuring that it is properly executed, you can help to streamline the probate process and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

In summary, updating your will is important for a variety of reasons, including protecting your family’s interests, ensuring your healthcare wishes are followed, providing for special needs or disabled family members, ensuring business continuity, and avoiding probate. By regularly reviewing and updating your will, you can ensure that it accurately reflects your wishes and provides for your loved ones.

Conclusion

In conclusion, updating your registered will is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are respected and your assets are distributed according to your current circumstances. Life events, changes in your financial situation, changes in the law, and changes in your wishes are all reasons why you may need to update your will. It is important to follow the legal provisions for updating a will in India, including executing a new will or codicil, revoking all previous wills and codicils, and registering the new will or codicil. Consulting with a lawyer can help ensure that your will and any updates to it are executed properly and in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. By keeping your will up to date, you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after your death and that your legacy is protected.

Read our Article:What Is The Importance Of A Will?

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