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How to store a will

By Mihika Awate

The concept of will is one such legal concept which is known by the public at large. A Will is a document by which a person lays down how their property is to be disposed of after their death and the person making the will is known as a ‘Testator’. The important part here is ‘after their death’, since if the intention is to dispose of the property during their lifetime, then it would not be a will. The property to be disposed of can be both movable and immovable property of the testator. Every person who is of sound mind and is a major can make a will. The person making the will has to be aware of the consequences of making the will and what he does by making one, and so a person who is intoxicated or suffering from illness or any other cause due to which they do not know what they’re doing, a will made in such a state will not be valid. The will also must be made voluntarily and not under coercion or fraud, et cetera. 

There are two types of wills : 

  • Unprivileged will – Except for certain circumstances which allow for privileged wills, most wills are Unprivileged wills i.e. they are in written format, must be signed by the testator & need to be attested.
  • Privileged will – SECTION 65 and 66 talk about the circumstances under which privileged wills can be made and in such cases, a will can be made orally and does not require to be attested. 

This article will deal only with the storing of an unprivileged will.

  • In a safe at your home

Nowadays there is a wide variety of home safes available in the market for people to purchase. People prefer to store valuables such as property papers, jewellery, cash et cetera at home where they can keep an eye out for the same and purchase a safe for the same reason. With the introduction of the new rules by the RBI notification issued on 18th August 2021 which greatly reduces the bank’s liability and the compensation amount to be paid in case of any damage to the bank locker contents, one can presume that home safes will be more predominant than ever before. One can also make use of a home safe to store one’s will. However, make sure that at least one person other than yourself, a person you trust, is aware of the password/pin of the safe.

  • In a bank locker

Bank lockers are often resorted to by people to store their valuables in, and a will being one can be stored in the bank locker as well. Rent has to be paid for the locker according to the bank rules & regulations. A bank locker can be hired either individually or jointly. When it is hired jointly if one owner dies, then the other owner can still access the locker and hence accessing the will of the dead owner will not be a problem. When it is hired individually, accessing the will of the owner after their death will be extremely difficult and a tedious process. For this reason, it is always recommended that one has a nominee listed for their bank locker who will gain access to the bank locker post their death. 

  • With your lawyer

You may also store your will with your lawyer. People often take the help of a lawyer to draft their will since lawyers are aware of the laws related to a will, although it is not necessary to take the aid of a lawyer to draft one’s will. In such cases, one may store their will with the lawyer themself. Often lawyers have a safe in their offices to store important documents and they may be able to store their client’s will inside the same as well.

  • Make multiple copies of your will

Make sure that apart from your main will, you have made at least 2 copies of your will and have stored them in safe places as well. 

A will is an important document and it is of paramount importance that it is stored properly. A lost will is equivalent to having no will. You may store it at places other than the ones mentioned above, such as at your parents’ home, but make sure you store it in a safe place where someone will not be able to tamper with it but at the same time, it is accessible post your death.