Can a Will be written from overseas

The Private Client team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas shares their comments and opinions in an article in the  following Q&A which was published by the Mint Newspaper on 16th January, 2022 and the online edition of the same can be found here.

Me and my family (wife and son) are NRIs based in Sweden. I have properties and movable assets in India. Can I write a Will on plain paper while I am in Sweden with respect to my assets? Is it okay to get it witnessed by my other NRI friends from India, based in Sweden, for the time being? What are other precautions to be taken when writing a Will from overseas with respect to assets and liabilities in India?

– Narsinh Modani

We assume you and your family are Hindu by faith. Accordingly, the provisions of Indian Succession Act, 1925, will be applicable for testamentary succession of assets of the testator (ie. the person who makes the will). The foreign will proposed by you can be tested against the grounds required for a valid will under the said law.

Broadly, under the said law, making a will is straightforward. It need not be on a legal / stamp paper- a simple plain sheet of paper(s) is all you need. After writing by hand or printing out the will, it needs to be signed by you in presence of 2 (two) independent witnesses (eg. your NRI friends). Post this, it will be considered ‘valid’ under Indian law. If you prefer a more formal approach, please consult the website of the local Indian embassy in Sweden – they would have a prescribed procedure regarding the attestation of an NRI will.

It is recommended that you execute separate wills for your Indian assets, and separate ones for Swedish and/or other foreign assets. We would recommend that you register your will, albeit it is optional to do so in India.