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Wills: Can A Beneficiary Be An Executor?

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What Is A Will?

A will is a legal document created by a testator who directs the distribution of transfer of property and estate after his or her death among the beneficiaries named in the will. The executor is nominated to manage the estate until it’s final execution, hence the name, ‘Last Will and Testament’. A joint will is a will executed by more than one person, such as a will executed between siblings or spouses.

The parties to a will are:

  1. Testator or the person that creates the will
  2. Executor or the person appointed to manage and distribute the estate
  3. Witness (the signature of two people are required as proof of execution)
  4. Beneficiary or the person/persons named in the will that will receive the estate

Can A Beneficiary Be An Executor To A Will?

An executor of a will can also be a beneficiary of that same will. This arrangement is quite common between a wife and a husband where the wife will be appointed as the primary executor and beneficiary to her husband’s will and vice-versa.

When Not To Make A Beneficiary An Executor To A Will?

A beneficiary may challenge or contest a will and this causes problems for the parties involved in executing the will. If an executor is granted decision making power, then the administering of a will may be contested as not having been made in due accordance with the parties wishes or in the best interests of the beneficiaries. This can result in the dispute going to court, prolonging the process of justice and making your property fund the legal fees for the dispute.

Choosing An Executor For Your Will

An executor is granted all power and ultimate authority to dispose of a property to prevent corruption. The executor appointed should be trusted and qualified, and it is always beneficial to appoint more than just one executor to a will. A partner or spouse will handle all private and personal details from arranging an estate to the funeral dues and another executor should be appointed to settle all dues, loans or debts, taxes, etc. and other financial-related aspects. In some cases, a nominated executor may pass away between creation and execution of a will. By nominating more than one executor, a testator can safeguard his position in case any emergencies do arise.

Your nominated executor should:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have testamentary capacity

Powers And Duties Of An Executor Of A Will

The appointed executor/executors must:

  1. Make arrangements for the funeral and/or burial
  2. Validate the will or probate the testament
  3. Clearing any outstanding dues, debts or loans
  4. Distributing the property/estate to the beneficiaries
  5. Pay wages for services, if applicable
  6. This section does not apply if the deceased was a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain or an exempted person.

Can An Executor Benefit From A Will?

Basically, yes. If an executor to a will can also be a beneficiary of that will, then the executor directly does benefit from that will. For example, a brother and sister or husband and wife may appoint the other person as the executor of and beneficiary to the same will. In some cases, an executor stands to benefit from a will by way of payment for services conducted in executing the will.

Can A Witness Be A Beneficiary To A Will?

A will needs to be attested in India. A will has to be attested by two or more witnesses, and each witness is required to see in first-hand, the testator signs the will, or any other person signs the will on behalf of the testator in the presence of and under the direction of the testator. Following which each of the witnesses affixes his or her signature on the will in the presence of the testator. Section 67 of the Indian Succession Act of 1925, states that the attesting witness or the individual’s spouse cannot be a beneficiary of a will or else the will shall be declared invalid.

How To Make A Will In India?

Here at, we help you make and write wills, probate wills, joint wills, etc. that will enable you to make a will or a last will and testament in India along with drafting, attestation and registration services for wills and other types of documents as well. There is no particular form of will prescribed by law. Registration of a will is not compulsory, but it is recommended by our team of legal experts. We promise safe custody, secrecy and efficient execution of all our client’s wills. Don’t have a will yet? Secure your interests by making one as soon as possible.

28 Feb, 17

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