All the variants of your ‘Will’!

variants types of Will

A Will is a legal document bearing the declaration of an individual’s intention on how his/her property is to be disposed of and/or managed after his death. The person who lays this legally valid instrument is known as the testator.

While making a Will, the testator should be cleared about the different types of will that can be made. There are certain features that a will should possess to attain validity such as:

a will should clearly state the beneficiary

it must be signed and attested

it can be revoked anytime during the lifetime of the testator by him/her as long as he/she is competent to do so

any change can be made on the will only by the execution of council and implementation of any subsequent will automatically cancel out the former will, among many others

Various types of Will documents:

Privileged Will:

  1. This, as mentioned in Section 63 of the Indian Succession Act, can be made by any soldier, Navy persons or airman who wishes to dispose of his or her estate during the time of his/her employment.
  2. Refers to an expedition, engagement in actual warfare or a mariner being at sea.
  3. The soldier (doesn’t include a civilian engineer employed by the army, having no military status) should be above 18, i.e. a major when making the will.

Unprivileged Will:

  1. As mentioned in Section 66 of the Indian Succession Act, this can be generated by any individual who is not employed as a soldier, marine or airman.
  2. The testator of this will has to abide by the general requirements of a valid Will.

Conditional/Contingent Wills:

  1. This is a Will expressed to take effect if a particular condition mentioned before.
  2. If the specified conditions become contrary to law, then the Will is not enforceable legally.

Joint Wills:

  1. It is an instrument that allows two or more persons to make a conjoint Will.
  2. It can be effective only after the death of both or either of the testators but not when both of them are alive.
  3. A Will which is executed by two or more testators as a single document serves on the death of each. It is in effect for two or more Wills.
  4. The legatee becomes entitled to the properties of the testator who dies.

Mutual Wills:

  1. These exist when two testators make each other their respective beneficiaries.
  2. If the legatees are different from the testators, the Will is not considered mutual.

Duplicate Wills:

  1. A testator can make a Will in duplicate, to ensure safety, of which he/she keeps one and other is kept safe with the executor or in a bank.
  2. Any damage to the copy of will with the testator leads to revocation of both Wills.

Concurrent Wills:

  1. The Wills used by a testator to dispose of some his property in one country and some in some other country are called concurrent wills.
  2. In such cases, both the Wills are considered valid regardless of the ‘last Will’ theory.

Sham Wills:

  1. The intention of the testator is considered as one of the essential features of a valid Will.
  2. If a will is executed following all legal formalities against the intention of the testator and if it proved that it was done for some collateral object without the consent of the testator, the will is regarded as a sham will.
  3. Such a will illegal in the eyes of the law.

Holograph Wills:

  1. When the testator prepares the entire will be his hand, it is called a Holograph Will.

Where there’s a Will, there will be more to learn!


So while we are still on a Willful phase, let’s talk about the nuances of the formalities and language of the document itself. Now that you know the importance of the will in protecting your property in India from any kind of property disputes that might occur if you die intestate. There are certain terms that you would be better off knowing if you were thinking of making a Will for your assets in India. An executor of a Will, for example, is a person appointed ordinarily by the testator by his will or codicil to administer the testator’s property and to carry into effect the provision of the will. Another very frequently used term is a Codicil – which is an instrument made about a Will explaining, altering or adding to its dispositions. It is a part of the Will. If the Testator wants to change the names of the Executors by adding some other names, this is done by making a Codicil in addition to the Will, as long as there are no other changes required to be made in the main text of the Will. The Codicil will always be in a written form. It is required to be signed by the Testator and attested by two Witnesses. Another aspect of the Will making procedure is a letter of administration. This is a certificate granted by the competent court to an administrator where there exists a Will, authorizing him to administer the estate of the deceased according to the Will, where the WILL does not name any executor. An application needs to be filed in the court for grant of Letter of Administration for the property as per law, where the deceased has died intestate. Probate is a term that we frequently hear in the context of the Will formulating process. Probate implies that the copy of the will is given to the executor together with a certificate granted under the seal of the court and signed, by one of the registrars, certifying that the will has been proved. The Probate is a firm evidence of the validity and due execution of the will and the testamentary capacity of the testator. A probate is obtained to authenticate the validity of the will. The probate is still the only proper evidence of the executor’s appointment. There is often a confusion between a nomination and a will. The nominee merely acts as the trustee. Sometimes, the nominee and the beneficiary of the will can be the same person. It needs to be understood that the provisions of the Will document will always prevail over the nomination. Normally it is better to have the same person as the nominee and the beneficiary of the will so that there are no property disputes in the future.