Will do not require compulsory registration per se under the Registration Act, 1908. However, in Delhi, a transfer of property is required to be notified to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) by the transferor and the transferee. As per a circular released by the Government of Delhi, a beneficiary under an unregistered will now have to mandatorily obtain and submit a probate order of such unregistered will from a competent civil court.
There are certain legal instruments specified in the Registration Act, 1908, which require compulsory registration with the competent authorities. Registering instruments that require compulsory registration under this Act qualifies them as being valid instruments that are admissible in courts. Will do not require compulsory registration as per the Registration Act, 1908.
Benefits of Registration of will:
A registered Will is put in the safe custody of the Registrar. Therefore it is relatively safe, cannot be tampered with, mutilated, destroyed, or stolen. Further, registration of the Will by the Testator can be evidence of the genuineness of the Will.
A Will can be challenged on the grounds like testator lacked mental capacity while making the Will, the Will was altered after it was signed, and the testator was unduly influenced, etc. In such cases, the onus of proof is always on the person who propounds the Will. A registered Will provides strong legal evidence against such a petition. Further, in the case of a registered will, any subsequent explanation, alteration, or addition/deletion to dispositions in relation to the ‘Will’ shall be deemed to form part of the Will (Codocil) and same must be registered. Any non-registered explanation, alteration, or addition/deletion to dispositions in relation to a registered Will or the non-registered revocation of a registered Will is treated as void and courts do not accept them as evidence.
Is unregistered Will a proof of ownership for its beneficiary?
Even though an unregistered Will that has been properly executed is a valid instrument in the eyes of law. Upon the death of the testator, the property is transferred/devolves in favor of his/her beneficiaries as per the terms of the will.
As per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act in the event of the death of a person who is primarily liable to pay property tax, the beneficiary upon whom the property devolves is required to notify MCD about such devolution within a period of six months from the death. When giving such written notification, the beneficiary is required to produce documents proving devolution of the property in his favor. As evidence, a beneficiary can produce the will-either registered or unregistered.
In Delhi, a beneficiary under an unregistered will is required to obtain and submit a probate order to MCD to get the property mutated in his favor. On the other hand, a beneficiary under a registered will is not required to additionally produce a probate order. The fact that there had been registration would be an important circumstance in favor of the will being genuine.
From the above, it is clear that though registration of will is not mandatory, however in order to present it before the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for the purposes of mutation, it should be registered. Hence it is advisable to get the same registered in accordance with the law.
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