Is Unregistered Will Valid in India?

Dec 12, 2023

When it comes to the legalities of wills in India, the question often arises: Is an unregistered will valid in the country? This holds particular importance for businesses operating in the IT Services & Computer Repair, Internet Service Providers, and Web Design sectors.

The Legal Perspective

According to Indian law, an unregistered will is legally valid if it meets specific criteria. The Indian Succession Act, 1925, governs the provisions related to wills in the country. Section 18 of this act states that a will can either be registered or unregistered.

An unregistered will, popularly known as a "holographic will," is handwritten by the testator (the person making the will) and does not require any witnesses. The success of an unregistered will depends on the fulfillment of certain legal requirements:

  1. The entire will must be in the handwriting of the testator.
  2. The testator must sign the will at the end of the document.
  3. The will should clearly express the wishes of the testator regarding the distribution of their property after their demise.

Advantages of Unregistered Wills

Unregistered wills offer several advantages for businesses and individuals alike:

  • Simplicity: Creating an unregistered will is a straightforward process. It can be handwritten, allowing for ease of execution.
  • Cost-effective: Registering a will involves fees and bureaucratic procedures. With an unregistered will, businesses can save costs associated with the registration process.
  • Privacy: In cases where individuals prefer to keep their succession plans confidential, an unregistered will provides greater privacy as it does not require registration with any government entity.
  • Flexibility: Unlike registered wills, unregistered wills can be modified and revoked by the testator at any time. This offers businesses the flexibility to adapt their succession plans according to changing circumstances.

Challenges and Considerations

While unregistered wills bring certain benefits, there are challenges and considerations that businesses must be aware of:

  • Probate Process: Unregistered wills require an additional step called probate to establish their validity. Probate is the legal process of proving the authenticity of a will. This process can be time-consuming and complex.
  • Lack of Witnesses: Unregistered wills do not require witnesses, which may lead to challenges in proving the genuineness of the document if disputed by any interested parties.
  • Potential Disputes: The absence of registration and witnesses can potentially give rise to disputes regarding the credibility and authenticity of the unregistered will.
  • Legal Advice: Seeking legal counsel is crucial to ensure compliance with the legal formalities and to safeguard against any potential challenges or disputes.


In summary, an unregistered will can be valid in India if it fulfills the requirements under the Indian Succession Act, 1925. Businesses in the IT Services & Computer Repair, Internet Service Providers, and Web Design industries should consider the advantages and challenges associated with unregistered wills before making their estate planning decisions.

It is recommended that businesses seek professional legal advice to navigate through the intricacies of will creation, registration, and probate processes. By having a clear understanding of the legal framework and consulting with experts, businesses can ensure that their succession plans are legally sound and effectively implemented.

is unregistered will valid in india