Listen to this post
Does unregistered codicil alter the terms of a registered will?

The following article was first published in the Mint newspaper on 5th March, 2024. The same was written by our Private Client team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, who frequently publish their comments and opinions in the Mint. The online version of the article can be found here.

In 2022, my father drafted a will which he registered. After his death two months ago, we found a codicil he had made in 2023 wherein he stipulated additional 5% allocation of his mutual fund portfolio to charity, with the remaining 85% to be divided between my brother and me. However, this codicil was not registered. Does this affect the validity of the will?

The registration of a will or codicil is not compulsory or required. It has no bearing on the validity of such will. Practically, registration only adds a layer of authenticity to the will, and is an important defence against forgeries or fake wills.

In your case, the 2022 will executed by your father, read with the codicil of 2023, would be considered as valid, unless there is any challenge on the grounds that the codicil has been executed by your father through fraud, coercion, or any other suspicious circumstance such as a shaky signature, a feeble mind, unfair and unjust disposition of the property, etc. Note that on merit, these grounds are extremely different to prove in law. As long as the normal principles of will or codicil execution are followed (in writing, signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses), that is all that is required to hold them as valid wills/codicils.

Based on the limited facts here, it does not appear that there were any suspicious circumstances for change of bequest in favour of charity which could make the will and codicil invalid. Do note that a probate of your father’s will may be required in specific circumstances.

In 2016, I bought an under construction house in Dubai. Last month, I sold it. Can I invest the proceeds in stocks listed in Dubai? Can I remit more from India for this purpose?

You can invest the sale proceeds into stocks listed in Dubai. As per the prevailing Indian Foreign Exchange Control regime, if such sale proceeds are not reinvested, then the same will have to be repatriated to India within a period of 180 days.

Further, additional remittance for the purpose of investing in stocks listed in Dubai can be done as long as the remittance is within your overall LRS limit of up to $250,000 per financial year. For such remittance, Form A2 will have to be submitted to the bank. Any other requirements of the bank will also have to be complied with.