The Private Client team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas shares their comments and opinions shared in an article in the following Q&A which was published by the Mint Newspaper on 14th April, 2020 and the online edition of the same can be found here.
I am 54. I want to add some more things to my existing Will. Will I need to make a new one or can an existing Will be altered? If an existing Will can be altered, what is the procedure?
We assume that you are a Hindu. The rules for Wills for Hindu testators are governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1925, under which a Will may be amended easily. The same can be done by way of a codicil, which is an amendment to a Will. When you create a codicil, you keep your existing Will, and by way of a separate document, add, change, amend, replace, delete (as the case may be) the relevant portions of the existing Will. The codicil is to be read as part of the Will and is considered its extension.
Both the Will and codicil should be stored and kept together. A codicil becomes legally valid once signed by the testator, in the presence of two witnesses.
But nothing stops you from revoking or destroying your old Will, and making a new one. You can sign a new Will, and add a clause revoking all former Wills and codicils.
If you have many changes to your existing Will, instead of making a number of complicated amendments, it may be simpler to sign a new Will. But when making a new Will, don’t forget to revoke the previous Wills and codicils using specific language. Remember to destroy the older Will physically as well.
It’s best if you speak to an attorney on the exact nature of the changes to the current Will and explore which option works for you.