A will is a legal document that outlines how the assets of the testator will be distributed upon death. The process of will registration is an important legal procedure that ensures the validity of the will and avoids disputes among the heirs. In this article, we will discuss the procedure of a will registration in the aspect of the law, along with relevant case law and acts.
The Procedure for Will Registration
The procedure of will registration varies from country to country, but in general, it involves the following steps:
- Drafting the Will:
The first step in the process of will registration is to draft the will. The testator can prepare the will by themselves or with the help of a lawyer. The will should contain the testator’s name, address, and signature, along with the details of the property to be distributed.
- Witnessing the Will:
After the testator has drafted the will, two witnesses should sign the will. The witnesses should be of legal age and have no interest in the will.
The signed will be notarized by a public notary. This provides legal authentication to the document.
- Filing the Will:
The notarized will be filed with the relevant government authorities. This creates an official record of the will.
- Copies of the Will:
The testator should provide copies of the will to the executor, heirs, and other interested parties.
The fee structure of will registration is governed by various laws and regulations in India. The Indian Registration Act, of 1908, governs the registration process for any legal document, including wills. According to Section 17 of the Act, registration fees are charged based on the property’s value.
In the case of Gurbax Singh v. D.K. Bhalla (2008), the Supreme Court of India held that the lack of proper registration of a will could lead to its invalidity. The legal validity of wills can be ensured by registering them.
The Indian Stamp Act, of 1899, also requires payment of stamp duty on wills depending on the value of the property transferred. The Act has been amended in recent years to simplify the process of stamp duty payment on wills. This is done by establishing a uniform stamp duty rate across states.
Thus, a well-drafted will registered with an appropriate fee structure can provide legal certainty and is key to ensuring a smooth transfer of assets after the testator’s death.
Who Can Get Access to the Registered Will?
Public admission to will inspection is not authorized. A copy of the Will may only be obtained from the Sub-office registrar by the maker of the will. The executor or a member of the deceased person’s family may obtain a copy of the will following proper identification and verification.
Is It Mandatory to Get a Will Registered?
It is illegal to execute a will without registering it with the court because the law does not support it. A will that is not registered, however, does not have the same legal sanctity as a will that has been registered.
A will may be registered at the local sub-registrar’s office during the registration process in the presence of the testator and two witnesses. An ideal witness would be someone who can verify the testator’s capacity to make a will. A person’s preferences may change over time based on the circumstances, and the will could need to be amended. Changing or updating the will is easy because of the low registration fee. You can pay to register for every updated version.
Relevant Case Laws
There have been several cases related to the registration of wills. One such case is Sankaran v. Narayanan, which involved the registration of a will. In this case, the Supreme Court of India held that the registration of a will is not mandatory but is advisable in order to avoid disputes among the heirs. The court also noted that the registration of a will provides evidence of the testator’s intentions.
Another important case is the case of Muthuswami Mudaliar v. Venkatachalam Pandalai, in which the Madras High Court held that a notarized will is valid even without registration. The court noted that the notarization of a will provides legal authentication, and registration is not essential.
Several acts govern the registration of wills. Section 18 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, provides for the registration of wills in India. It states that anyone who has executed a will can register it personally or through an authorized agent. The act also provides for fees that need to be paid for registration.
To conclude, registering a will is a necessary legal procedure that ensures its validity and prevents disputes among heirs. The procedure of will registration involves drafting the will, witnessing the will, notarization, filing the will, and providing copies of the will. In the registration of wills, relevant case law, such as Sankaran v. Narayanan, and laws like the Indian Succession Act, of 1925, govern the process.
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