Making a Will Made Easy, VK Verma, Macmillan Publications India Ltd, Pp 189, Rs 395.00
WHAT is a will? Why is it necessary? The book provides answers to both these questions in detail.
Law begins to regulate our life as soon as we are born and continues even after our body has been disposed of after our death. We would like our property after our death to be devolved on our successors in a particular manner and this is where the Will comes into play.
The laws of inheritance are diverse and complicated and cases are frequently heard in courts regarding the technical problems involved in the inheritance of estate by the legal heirs.
The author, an advocate at Supreme Court of India, deals with different stages involved in the making of a Will. He even differentiates between a Will and a Codicil, where the latter is an instrument made in relation to a Will, explaining, altering or adding to its dispositions and is deemed to be a part of the Will itself.
A Will is “the legal declaration of the intention of a testator with respect to his property which he desires to be carried into effect after his death.” Thus a Will is an important document which authorises the individual/living person to leave his assets and wealth to whosoever he wishes after his death. This Will is defined as a legal declaration of the intention of the testator. Though there is no prescribed form or language for executing a Will, but in order to be effective, it needs to be properly signed and attested by two witnesses.
The beneficiary to the Will cannot be a witness to the Will and neither should such a person be appointed as executor in such circumstances. The Will must be signed after you have completed the Will in the presence of two witnesses. You must sign the Will before the witnesses do. The witnesses have to be physically present together when you sign and both must see you sign. It is always safe to sign each page of the document at the end of the page to safeguard that nothing can be added in the document to create confusion at the time of its implementation. There should be no ambiguity relating to the intention or desire of the testator.
A Will can be revoked, altered or changed at any time by the testator. He or she can change or modify the document at his discretion, either by destroying the one signed originally with the intention of revoking it or by writing a new Will stating expressly that all previous Wills stand revoked. In some cases, probate/letters of administration can be applied for in a court of competent jurisdiction. A probate granted by a competent court is conclusive evidence of the validity of a Will. Probate is not granted to a minor or a person of unsound mind and the court has to wait until the expiration of seven days from the date of testator’s death.
The book deals with a situation where the person dies without making a Will and the possible complications that might arise in the situation afterwards. It also deals with the estate’s devolvement/distribution of property and also with the legal status of the executor, guardian and the execution of the Will by an unmarried person.
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