What is a will? What are the basic points to keep in mind while making a will?

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Section 2(h) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, defines a will as “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”. A testator is a person who makes a valid will while he is alive. Any adult who wants to distribute his assets can write a will, provided he is of sound mind.

There is no hard and fast rule that a will has to be written only on stamp paper and that it must be registered. A will written on plain paper is perfectly valid as per the law. A will can, however, be also framed by a lawyer, especially in cases where the assets and ownerships are complex. A lawyer will also ensure that the will is in sync with the law.

However, in both cases, the testator must be clearly identified by his signature, and attestation from at least two reliable witnesses, the assets must be listed clearly and there should be no ambiguity as to how these are to be distributed among the beneficiaries.

A testator can also withdraw his will or change it whenever he deems fit and in any manner whatsoever.

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