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Rennie Joshi   13 November 2018

Validity of unregistered will

Recently I came to know that my father has written a will around 1997 which says that a particular property is for my brother. This will is not registered and it was signed by my brother (the beneficiary) and the executor as the witnesses. Is this will considered as valid? Can the benficiary and the executor serve as witnesses? 


 6 Replies

TGK REDDI   13 November 2018

The Will is invalid.

Suri.Sravan Kumar (senior)     13 November 2018

will need not be regd but it must be executed before witness who are not related to the testator. Since your brother signed as witness the will is not valid in the eye of law.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     13 November 2018

To avoid hazards/contest to the WILL; The beneficiary of the Will should not be a witness. A person who has conflict of interest  should not be an attesting witness.

There are opinion in various publications e.g; Under Parsi and Christian law, a witness cannot be an executor or legatee. However, according to Hindu Law, a witness can be a legatee. A Muslim is not required to have his Will attested if it is in writing.

can a beneficiary be a witness in Will - FREE LEGAL ADVICE ( Law Rato)

can a beneficiary be a witness in Will

Yes, under Hindu law a beneficiary can indeed be a witness to the Will. However, it would be much better if you could find two independent witnesses. Family friends work best for this purpose. You could further appoint one of them as an executor of the Will.

Advocate Dhruv Banerji

Greater Kailash 1, Delhi


Handing Over Your Wealth Baton

"Though anyone, including a beneficiary, can be witness to your will, it is advisable to get some trusted person having no interest in the will sign it,"

IT is mandatory to probate the WILL in the areas of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.

IT is not mandatory to probate the WILL in other areas. IT is not mandatory to register or notarize the WILL.

The WILL should just be valid. Unregistered WILL can be acted upon.

The last valid WILL prevails.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     13 November 2018

Succession opens on date of death; by inheritance or by testamentary succession (by valid WILL).

In case of Hindu male dying without disposing her estate/property in her life time by a valid/registered deed the 1st right is of ClassI legal heirs i.e Mother (if alive as on date of death), Wife (if alive as on date of death), sons, daughters……


Which personal law applies in your case?

Are you all Hindu?

Is your father alive?

Have you or your counsel seen the WILL?

As per you and your counsel(s) the WILL is valid?

The WILL has been duly acted upon without any cloud on IT with consent/NOC of all legal heirs (including you) and mutations have been updated on basis of WILL, in favor of beneficiary?


Kumar Doab (FIN)     13 November 2018


The authority under whose jurisdiction property falls has a set procedure for such matters if the ( Valid) WILL has surfaced; Testate Succession…….and the prescribed forms, procedure, process is available in O/o Authority and even on website. Certified copies of the WILL, death certificate, legal heir certificate/affidavit (per local procedure/precedence) are basic requirements. The authority may ask for NOC from legal heirs (other than beneficiary) and/or to release newspaper advt and/or may write to legal heirs to submit their objections if any within set time.


If there is NO contest to the WILL by any legal heir then authority shall act upon the WILL without any cloud on it and transfer the ownership in the name of beneficiary.

If WILL is contested it lands up in probate court of pecuniary jurisdiction. The court shall decide on validity of WILL.

The legal heirs may also consider perspective of registered family settlement after the WILL and register it.

Check locally and comply with procedure. Thereafter concerned official in the O/o Authority e.g; Patwari, shall act upon the matter and transfer the ownership by inheritance/probate in the name of legal heirs in mutations records.

Thereafter obtain copy of updated mutation records.


You are one of the legal heirs and you can enjoy your share and she can enjoy her share.

For partition by boundaries either decide amicably (best recourse) or take help of other elders of the family or panchyaat or court of law..

 If WILL is not submitted to be acted upon then it becomes matter of succession per personal law that applies.

Although it is wrong since the WILL exists.

Check locally and comply with procedure.


The WILL has to see light of the day. Until duly acted upon without any cloud on IT (or probated) a WILL is mere piece of paper. The delay is submission of WILL arouses suspicion.

The legal heirs do get chance to either give consent or oppose the WILL.


Prathibha M   24 June 2020

Sir my father-in-law wrote a will in 2015 on self acquired property which is unequally distribution in reality among 5 children the

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