What is the effect of Will on the death of Testator and Beneficiary at the same time?

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Q. My mother belongs to a Hindu family and she had executed a registered will whereby she transfers all the property to me subsequent to her death. If the death of my mother and me happens at the same time, what will be the effect of Will?

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 states about Wills under Section 1(h) as the legal declaration of intention of a testator with regard to his property that he wishes to be brought into effect only after his death. The Indian Succession Act, 1925 applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians but not to Mohammedans. Will is effective only after the death of the testator and not in the life time of testator. A Will can be changed a number of times and it has to be attested by two or more witnesses and every witness must have seen the testator signing the Will.  A Will can also be sealed and kept under safe custody.

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Beneficiary is a person who benefits from the Will after the death of the testator.  In your matter your mother was from a Hindu family and had registered her Will. Here if we consider the case under Section 105(vi) of the Indian Succession Act 1925 which explains that if both the testator and the legatee perished together and if there is no evidence to show who died first then the legacy lapses. JogeshwarNarainDeo v. Ram ChundDutt and Others, this case which comes under Section 105 of the said Act can be referred here which clearly states if legatee dies then the legacy lapses.  The legacy cannot take effect and it will lapse and becomes part of the residue of the testator’s property but if the testator by his/her Will intends that it should go to some other person.  Will and nomination should not be read together as they both have different meaning.  Nominee is a person appointed as trustee and he can be called a beneficiary.  In case of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains a Will can validly be made orally and no formalities are needed for its execution.  A legatee cannot witness a Will and nor the husband or wife of the legatee or their heir.  Generally people believe that their hard earned money should fall into the right hands and thus make a Will.

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by Sushma Javare.