Decoding Duplicate Wills: Safeguarding Your Legacy

by  Adv. Praneeth GN  




7 mins


Navigating the World of Duplicate Wills


Crafting a will is a pivotal step in ensuring the smooth transition of assets and safeguarding your legacy. In this detailed exploration, we will delve into the concept of duplicate wills, combining insights from various sources for a more comprehensive understanding. Let’s uncover the benefits, features, and critical steps involved in preparing duplicate wills.

Duplicate Wills: An Overview

Duplicate wills, regulated by Section 63 of the Indian Succession Act 1925, serve as copies of the original will and offer numerous advantages. The testator must follow specific procedures, ensuring the duplicate’s validity and secure storage.

A Duplicate Will is executed in duplicate originals by a testator who retains one copy and gives the second copy to another person. Both copies are subject to the same rules applicable to wills, and upon the application for probate, both copies must be tendered into the registry of the Probate Court.

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Benefits of Duplicate Wills

  1. Affairs Management After Death:
    • Facilitates posthumous management of affairs, assuring that the testator’s wishes are carried out.
  2. Distribution of Property and Assets:
    • Provides a clear roadmap for property and asset distribution, minimizing the risk of intestacy-related complications.
  3. Family Protection:
    • Safeguards the family and financial system, preventing disputes and ensuring a smoother transition.
  4. Tax Reduction and Lower Costs:
    • Aids in reducing inheritance tax and overall costs associated with the probate process.
  5. Guardianship and Managerial Selection:
    • Allows for the appointment of guardians for children and selection of managers, along with expressing funeral desires.

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Features of Duplicate Wills

Duplicate wills encompass vital information, including details about asset distribution, guardianship of children, legal heirs, and access to assets. They also address financial aspects, such as reducing the tax burden on estate funds.

Duplicate original wills are considered original, executed simultaneously with the primary will. Both copies are subject to the same legal scrutiny and must be presented during the probate application.

People Also Read: Twin Testaments: The Strategic Edge of Mirror Wills in Safeguarding Futures

Importance of Duplicate Wills

  1. Added Benefit for Children:
    • Provides a comprehensive overview of the percentage of possession passed down to children, ensuring their financial security.
  2. Conflict Prevention:
    • Crucial in preventing family conflicts and legal interventions, fostering a harmonious execution of the will.
  3. Security and Protection:
    • Duplicate wills can be stored securely with banks, executors, or trustees, adding an extra layer of protection.

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Documents Required for a Duplicate Will

Thorough documentation about personal assets, chosen beneficiaries, and their details is essential. This includes real estate certificates, automobile possession records, financial statements, and more.

Comprehensive List of Documents:

  • Real estate certificates
  • Automobile possession records
  • Account statements
  • Money market accounts records
  • Stocks and bonds documentation
  • Retirement savings details
  • Jewellery inventory
  • Current debts records
  • Mortgage and auto loan details
  • Consumer loans documentation
  • Healthcare and education-related expense records
  • Home equity credit lines documentation

Why Should a Testator Draft a Duplicate Will?

The testator, responsible for drafting the will, should consider a duplicate will for added security. However, proper care must be taken to avoid unintended consequences, such as the revocation of the duplicate will if changes are made to the original without due process.

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FAQs on Duplicate Wills

Q1. Who can get a copy of a will?

Ans1. In most cases, the executor or court-appointed administrator and beneficiaries named in the will can access the original will. Legal consultation is advisable for specific guidance.

Q2. Are copy wills valid?

Ans2. Copy wills may be valid under specific circumstances, especially if the original is unintentionally lost or destroyed. Legal consultation is advisable for guidance.

Q3. What is a duplicate original will?

Ans3. A duplicate original will is a second copy executed and signed simultaneously with the original, serving as a safeguard against loss or destruction.

Q4. Can a person hold more than one original will?

Ans4. While possible, having multiple original wills can lead to complications. It is crucial to clearly mark copies and update them when necessary.

Q5. Who can inspect a will?

Ans5. Before probate, only trustees named in the will can view it. Afterwards, the executor, immediate family, and relevant professionals can access the will.

Q6. What happens if a will is lost or destroyed?

Ans6. If the original will is lost or destroyed, a copy may be accepted in court, provided it can be proven that the loss or destruction was unintentional.

Q7. Can a duplicate will be contested?

Ans7. Yes, a duplicate will can be contested, especially if there are discrepancies or doubts about its authenticity. Legal advice is recommended in such cases.

Q8. Can anyone challenge the validity of a duplicate will?Ans8. Yes, challenges may arise, particularly if there are concerns about the legitimacy of the duplicate will. Legal guidance is crucial in addressing such challenges.

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Adv. Praneeth GN

Adv. Praneeth GN


4.8 | 85+ User Reviews

Praneeth GN is a legal consultant who prioritises ethical and professional conduct. He graduated with (B.A. and LL.B) from the K.L.E. Society Law College. With more than 8 years of experience in handling legal cases independently. He has the potential to understand and explain complicated legal words in simple terms to clients.

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