A will is the legal statement of an individual about what he wishes to do with his property after his death. It is the intention of an individual regarding the devolution of his property and what has to be done with the same. A will is registered under Section 18(e) of The Indian Registration Act 1908,however the registration of a will is optional. A will made by Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh of Jain is governed under the Indian Succession Act, 1925. Every sound minded individual can make a will including the deaf, dumb and blind as long as they are aware about what they do by the same. An insane individual is allowed to make a will however only during the interval when he is sane. A will however, cannot be made in a state of either intoxication or illness, where he/she is unaware of what they’re doing.
Regardless of whether or not a will is registered or not, there are the following grounds on which a will can be challenged –
Lack of Testamentary Capacity – All individuals above the age of eighteen can make a will since adults have a testamentary capacity. In order to challenge a will on the basis of lack of mental capacity, it is necessary that one is able to prove that while making the will, the individual was unaware of its consequences.
Lack of Testamentary Intention – That the individual who made the will did not intend to make a will in the first place.
Lack of Knowledge or Approval – That the individual when signing or approving the will did not know what the will consisted of.
Undue Influence/Fraud/Forgery – A will can also be challenged by proving that the approval for the will (or the will on a whole) was made through fraud, forgery or undue influence without the real and valid consent of the individual.
Revocation (Familial Claims) – According to the Hindu Succession Act, all individuals should be adequately provided for in the will and if the same is not done, it can be contested.
Lack in Execution – A legally valid will has to be in writing and also has to be signed by the testator along with two witnesses. In case the process is not followed, the will is not considered to be properly executed.
A no-contest clause can be added but that is a practice that has weightage primarily in the US, however the extent of its validity too depends on the legislations of the state.