A Will is a legal declaration of the intention of a person (testator) with respect to his property or estate, which he desires to take effect after his death.
(i) The Will must be executed by the testator, i.e., the person making the Will (or by some other person in the testator’s presence and under his directions; if it is not possible for the testator to affix his signature, he may also put his thumb impression);
(ii) The signature should be placed in such as manner that it appears that it was intended to give effect to the Will;
(iii) The Will should be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses (other than the beneficiaries under a Will), and the witnesses must also attest (i.e., sign).
In India, registration of Wills is not compulsory. A Will is not a compulsorily registerable document under section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908, (Act), and according to section 18 (e) it is the testator’s choice as to whether he wishes to register it. There is no stamp duty payable. But if one chooses to register a Will with the applicable registrar/sub-registrar of assurances, the registration provides evidence that the proper parties had appeared before the registering officer and the latter had attested the same after ascertaining their identity. Once a Will is registered, it is placed in the safe custody of the Registrar and cannot be tampered with, destroyed, mutilated or stolen. However, non-registration of a Will does not lead to any inference against its genuineness. It doesn’t have to be executed before a notary public.