Who can be witness to the WILL? and Who cannot be?

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Witness to a WILL

Sec 63 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 states that Will is required to be attested by two or more witnesses in presence of the testator (Author of the Will).

What is “to attest”?

The meaning of “attest” is that, the witness is required to execute his/her signature on the Will. The signature of the witness on the Will acknowledges the fact that the witness identifies the signature of the Author of the Will or the fact that the witness has seen the Author of the Will signing the document.

Who can be a witness to the WILL?

Any person who is a major (over the age of 18 years), is of sound mind and who can visually identify the person making the Will can be witness to a Will. Therefore any person, who is a friend, neighbour, co-worker/ colleague and acquaintance can be witnesses to a Will. It is also recommended, that the witness to a Will should be younger in age then the Author of the Will. This is because, in case any dispute arises with the Will, there is a high probability that the witness will be available to testify before the court proceeding.

Who cannot be witness to a WILL?

It is recommended not to have below mentioned persons as witnesses to the Will:-
1. Spouse of the Author of the Will.
2. Immediate blood relative including legal heirs.
3. Any beneficiaries of the Will. “Beneficiaries” are the persons who have been given any property
(movable/immovable) of the Author of the Will.
4. Spouse of the beneficiaries of the Will.
5. Any immediate blood relative of the beneficiaries of the Will.
6. The “Executor” appointed in the Will. “The Executor” is any person who is appointed by the Author of the Will tocarry out distribution of properties mentioned in the Will.

How to witness a WILL?

1. It is necessary that the Will has to be attested by at least two witnesses. It is also necessary that witnesses
put their signatures in presence of the Author of the Will, however it is not necessary that both the witnesses
sign in presence of each other.
2. It is recommended that the witnesses execute their signatures on the last page of the Will and the same page should also bear the signature of the Author of the Will.
3. It is recommended that the witness should mention the details such as the date, their complete name, their
address and their contact number just below their signature.

Other FAQs regarding witness to a WILL

Is it necessary for the witness to know the contents of the WILL?

It is not necessary for the witness to know the contents of the Will.

Can a lawyer/ doctor be a witness to the WILL?

Yes, a lawyer or doctor can be a witness to a Will.

Can the witnesses be husband and wife?

Yes, witness can be husband and wife, however as stated earlier the witnesses should not be blood relative of the Author of the Will.

3rd June,2020

About the Author: Adv Amit A. Tungare

Amit is a practising Advocate and Counsel at Bombay High Court. He also appears before various Tribunals and Forums across India. His major areas of practice include Civil Laws, Arbitration, Company Matters, Insolvency Law, Real Estate, Consumer, White Collared Criminal Cases and Corporate Litigation. Amit regularly advises Multi-National Companies, MSMEs, Nationalized Banks, Senior Executives and individuals. He is empanelled as Legal Advisor with leading Corporates and Banks.

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