While preparing a Will, make sure that two competent witnesses are present
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How can I include my grandson instead of my son in my Will for giving my house to him? He is 15 years old now.
I have assumed that you are a Hindu and accordingly the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 would apply to you. I have also assumed that the house you intend to bequeath to your grandchild does not form a part of any Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) property, and stands in your own name.
As per section 30 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, a Hindu may dispose of by Will or other testamentary disposition, any property which is capable of being disposed of by him, in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 or any other law for the time being in force applicable to Hindus.
There is no restriction on who can be a beneficiary under the Will and therefor even a minor can be a beneficiary under a Will.
In view of the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 read with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, you would be free therefore to bequeath any of your assets (including your house) to any person, including your grandson, who is a minor.
However, it is advisable that you name the concerned person or guardian who should hold and manage the property for the benefit of your grandson until he becomes a major, whereupon your grandson can hold it the property in his own name. Please ensure that your Will is duly executed by you in the manner set out in the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
The Indian Succession Act, 1925 requires that the testator executes his Will in the presence of two witnesses competent to contract and such attesting witnesses must attest (i.e., sign) the Will as attesting witnesses, in the testator’s presence and in the presence of each other, after they have seen the testator executing the Will. In your Will you should provide a brief description of the house you intend to bequeath to your grandson including the details of the land on which the house is built (assuming that the land is also owned by you and is to be bequeathed to your grandson).
If the house forms a part of a co-operative or other society, then you should also include details of your shares or other interest in such society and state that you are bequeathing your interest in such shares or interest in the society to your grandson (and your rights in the house which are incidental to your holding the shares or interest in the society) to your grandson absolutely.
It would also be advisable to make the required nominations with the respective co-operative or society (where such nominations are required or permissible under the law), so as to facilitate a smooth transmission of the house.
Please also specify who will hold the property for the benefit of your grandson until he becomes a major. You can include a stipulation that it will be held solely for the benefit of your grandson and will not be disposed of prior to your grandson becoming a major.
Lastly you may choose to register your Will with the office of the Sub-Registrar of Assurances under the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908, although it is not mandated in law.
Marylou Bilawala is partner, Wadia Ghandy & Co. Advocates, Solicitors and Notaries.
Queries and views at firstname.lastname@example.org