Saturday, June 18, 2011

WRITING A WILL

WRITING A WILL


Gajanan Khergamker


According to the provisions of law, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Jews and Parsis should make their will in writing. However, if the people belonging to these religions are members of the armed forces employed in an expedition or engaged in actual warfare or mariners at sea, then, they are allowed to make an oral will. Oral wills made in such circumstances are known as privileged wills. Otherwise, only Muslims are allowed to make oral wills, as their personal laws permit them to do so. However, if a Muslim makes a will in writing, such a will would not be void.
There is no particular format, for a will to be legal. To avoid confusion of any sort, it is always better to keep the language of the will as simple as possible. It should be kept free of technical words, so that the language is easily understandable and leaves no room for any misinterpretation. A will should be worded in such a way that the intention of the testator (the person making the will) is clear. A benefit bestowed under a will is called a bequest. A will or bequest that does not express a definite intent is void, due to uncertainty.
Under the Indian Stamp Act, it is not necessary to execute a will on stamp paper. So, a will can be made on any plain paper, which for practical purposes, should be of a durable kind. A will does not need to be typed. It can be hand-written by the testator, with a ball-point pen or a fountain pen. A hand-written will is known as a holograph will. While no one can deny the legality of a hand-written will, it is always better to leave plenty of empty margin space on both sides of the paper, while typing a will. This is because there is always a chance that the testator's handwriting could be illegible and could cause unnecessary confusion.

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