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Indian Succession Act, 1925

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 for Will & Bequest

(Important provisions relating to Wills and Bequest under India Christian Act 1925)

Will means the legal declaration of the intention of a person with respect to his property, which he desires to take effect after his death. It is a unilateral document and takes effect after the death of the person making it. It can be revoked or altered by the maker of it at any time he is competent to dispose of his property.

A will made by a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain is governed by the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. However Mohammedan are not governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1925 and they can dispose their property according to Muslim Law

Who can make a will?

• Every person who is of sound mind and is not a minor can make a will.
• Persons who are deaf or dumb or blind can make a will provided they are able to know what they do by it.
• A person who is ordinarily insane may make a will during an interval in which he is of sound mind.
• No person can make a will while he is in such a state of mind, whether arising from intoxication or from illness or from any other cause that he does not know what he is doing.

Persons capable of making Wills:

Section 59:
Every person of sound mind not being a minor may dispose of his property by will.
Explanation 1.--A married woman may dispose by will of any property which she could alienate by her own act during her life.
Explanation 2.--Persons who are deaf or dumb or blind are not thereby incapacitated for making a will if they are able to know what they do by it.
Explanation 3.--A person who is ordinarily insane may make a will during interval in which he is of sound mind.
Explanation 4.--No person can make a will while he is in such a state of mind, whether arising from intoxication or from illness or from any other cause that he does not know what he is doing.


Illustrations
(i) A can perceive what is going on in his immediate neighbourhood, and can answer familiar questions, but has not a competent understanding as to the nature of his property, or the persons who are of kindred to him, or in whose favour it would be proper that he should make his will. A cannot make a valid will.
(ii) A executes an instrument purporting to be his will, but he does not understand the nature of the instrument, nor the effect of its provisions. This instrument is not a valid will.
(iii) A, being very feeble and debilitated, but capable of exercising a judgment as to the proper mode of disposing of his property, makes a will. This is a valid will.

Testamentary guardian:

Section 60:
A father, whatever his age may be, may by will appoint a guardian or guardians for his child during minority.

Will obtain by fraud, coercion or importunity:

Section 61:
A will or any part of a will, the making of which has been caused by fraud or coercion or by such importunity as takes away the free agency of the testator, is void. Illustrations
(i) A, falsely and knowingly represents to the testator, that the testator' s only child is dead, or that he has done some undutiful act and thereby induces the testator to make a will in his, A' s favour; such will has been obtained by fraud, and is invalid.
(ii) A, by fraud and deception, prevails upon the testator to bequeath a legacy to him. The bequest is void.


(iii) A, being a prisoner by lawful authority, makes his will. The will is not invalid by reason of the imprisonment.
(iv) A threatens to shoot B, or to burn his house or to cause him to be arrested on a criminal charge, unless he makes a bequest in favour of C. B, in consequence, makes a bequest in favour of C. The bequest is void, the making of it having been caused by coercion.
(v) A, being of sufficient intellect, if undisturbed by the influence of others, to make a will yet being so much under the control of B that he is not a free agent, makes a will, dictated by

B. It appears that he would not have executed the will but for fear of B. The will is invalid.
(vi) A, being in so feeble a state of health as to be unable to resist importunity, is pressed by B to make a will of a certain purport and does so merely to purchase peace and in submission to B. The will is invalid.
(vii) A being in such a state of health as to be capable of exercising his own judgment and volition, B uses urgent intercession and persuasion with him to induce him to make a will of a certain purport. A, in consequence of the intercession and persuasion, but in the free exercise of his judgment and volition makes his will in the manner recommended by B. The will is not rendered invalid by the intercession and persuasion of B.
(viii) A, with a view to obtaining a legacy from B, pays him attention and flatters him and thereby produces in him a capricious partiality to A. B, in consequence of such attention and flattery, makes his will, by which he leaves a legacy to A. The bequest is not rendered invalid by the attention and flattery of A.

Will may be revoked or altered:


Section 62:

A will is liable to be revoked or altered by the maker of it at any time when he is competent to dispose of his property by will.

Execution of unprivileged wills.-


Section 63:

Every testator, not being a soldier employed in an expedition or engaged in actual warfare, [or an airman so employed or engaged,] or a mariner at sea, shall execute his will according to the following rules:--
(a) The testator shall sign or shall affix his mark to the will, or it shall be signed by some other person in his presence and by his direction.
(b) The signature or mark of the testator, or the signature of the person signing for him, shall be so placed that it shall appear that it was intended thereby to give effect to the writing as a will.


(c) The will shall be attested by two or more witnesses, each of whom has seen the testator sign or affix his mark to the will or has seen some other person sign the will, in the presence and by the direction of the testator, or has received from the testator a personal acknowledgment of his signature or mark, or of the signature of such other person; and each of the witnesses shall sign the will in the presence of the testator, but it shall not be necessary that more than one witness be present at the same time, and no particular form of attestation shall be necessary.

Incorporation of papers by reference


Section 64:

If a testator, in a will or codicil duly attested, refers to any other document then actually written as expressing any part of his intentions, such document shall be deemed to form a part of the will or codicil in which it is referred to.


Privileged wills:


Section 65:

Any soldier being employed in an expedition or engaged in actual warfare, or an airman so employed or engaged,] or any mariner being at sea, may, if he has completed the age of eighteen years, dispose of his property by a will made in the manner provided in section 66. Such wills are called privileged wills.


Illustrations
(i) A, a medical officer attached to a regiment is actually employed in an expedition. He is a soldier actually employed in an expedition, and can make a privileged will.
(ii) A is at sea in a merchant-ship, of which he is the purser. He is a mariner, and, being at sea, can make a privileged will.
(iii) A, a soldier serving in the field against insurgents, is a soldier engaged in actual warfare, and as such can make a privileged will


(iv) A, a mariner of a ship, in the course of a voyage, is temporarily on shore while she is lying in harbour. He is, for the purposes of this section, a mariner at sea, and can make a privileged will.
(v) A, an admiral who commands a naval force, but who lives on shore, and only occasionally goes on board his ship, is not considered as at sea, and cannot make a privileged will.
(vi) A, a mariner serving on a military expedition, but not being at sea, is considered as a soldier, and can make a privileged will.

Mode of making Privileged Wills:


Section 66:

Mode of making, and rules for executing, privileged wills.-
(1) Privileged wills may be in writing, or may be made by word of mouth.
(2) The execution of privileged wills shall be governed by the following rules:--
(a) The will may be written wholly by the testator, with his own hand. In such case it need not be signed or attested.
(b) It may be written wholly or in part by another person, and signed by the testator. In such case it need not be attested.


(c) If the instrument purporting to be a will is written wholly or in part by another person and is not signed by the testator, it shall be deemed to be his will, if it is shown that it was written by the testator’s directions or that he recognised it as his will.
(d) If it appears on the face of the instrument that the execution of it in the manner intended by the testator was not completed, the instrument shall not, by reason of that circumstance, be invalid, provided that his non- execution of it can be reasonably ascribed to some cause other than the abandonment of the testamentary intentions expressed in the instrument.
(e) If the soldier, 1[airman] or mariner has written instructions for the preparation of his will, but has died before it could be prepared and executed, such instructions shall be considered to constitute his will.


(f) If the soldier, 1[airman] or mariner has, in the presence of two witnesses, given verbal instructions for the preparation of his will, and they have been reduced into writing in his lifetime, but he has died before the instrument could be prepared and executed, such instructions shall be considered to constitute his will, although they may not have been reduced into writing in his presence, nor read over to him.
(g) The soldier, 1[airman] or mariner may make a will by word of mouth by declaring his intentions before two witnesses present at the same time.
(h) A will made by word of mouth shall be null at the expiration of one month after the testator, being still alive, has ceased to be entitled to make a privileged will. CHAPTER V Of the Attestation, Revocation, Alteration and Revival of Wills CHAPTER V Of the Attestation, Revocation, Alteration and Revival of Wills

Attestation, Revocation, Alteration and Revival of Wills:

Effect of gift to attesting witness:

Section 67:
A will shall not be deemed to be insufficiently attested by reason of any benefit thereby given either by way of bequest or by way of appointment to any person attesting it, or to his or her wife or husband; but the bequest or appointment shall be void so far as concerns the person so attesting, or the wife or husband of such person, or any person claiming under either of them.
Explanation.--A legatee under a will does not lose his legacy by attesting a codicil which confirms the will.


Witness not disqualified by interest or by being executor:

Section 68:
No person, by reason of interest in, or of his being an executor of, a will, shall be disqualified as a witness to prove the execution of the will or to prove the validity or invalidity thereof.


Revocation of will by testator's marriage:

Section 69:
Every will shall be revoked by the marriage of the maker, except a will made in exercise of a power of appointment, when the property over which the power of appointment is exercised would not, in default of such appointment, pass to his or her executor or administrator, or to the person entitled in case of intestacy.
Explanation.--Where a man is invested with power to determine the disposition of property of which he is not the owner, he is said to have power to appoint such property.

Revocation of unprivileged will or codicil:

Section 70:
No unprivileged will or codicil, nor any part thereof, shall be revoked otherwise than by marriage, or by another will or codicil, or by some writing declaring an intention to revoke the same and executed in the manner in which an unprivileged will is hereinbefore required to be executed, or by the burning, tearing, or otherwise destroying the same by the testator or by some person in his presence and by his direction with the intention of revoking the same.


Illustrations
(i) A has made an unprivileged will. Afterwards, A makes another unprivileged will which purports to revoke the first. This is a revocation.
(ii) A has made an unprivileged will. Afterwards, A, being entitled to make a privileged will, makes a privileged will, which purports to revoke his unprivileged will. This is a revocation.


Effect of obliteration, interlineations or alteration in unprivileged will:


Section 71:

No obliteration, interlineations or other alteration made in any unprivileged will after the execution thereof shall have any effect, except so far as the words or meaning of the will have been thereby rendered illegible or undiscernible, unless such alteration has been executed in like manner as hereinbefore is required for the execution of the will:
Provided that the will, as so altered, shall be deemed to be duly executed if the signature of the testator and the subscription of the witnesses is made in the margin or on some other part of the will opposite or near to such alteration, or at the foot or end of or opposite to a memorandum referring to such alteration, and written at the end or some other part of the will.


Revocation of privileged will or codicil:


Section 72:

A privileged will or codicil may be revoked by the testator by an unprivileged will or codicil, or by any act expressing an intention to revoke it and accompanied by such formalities as would be sufficient to give validity to a privileged will, or by the burning, tearing or otherwise destroying the same by the testator, or by some person in his presence and by his direction, with the intention of revoking the same.


Explanation.--In order to the revocation of a privileged will or codicil by an act accompanied by such formalities as would be sufficient to give validity to a privileged will, it is not necessary that the testator should at the time of doing that act be in a situation which entitles him to make a privileged will.

Revival of unprivileged will:

Section 73:
(1) No unprivileged will or codicil, nor any part thereof, which has been revoked in any manner, shall be revived otherwise than by the re-execution thereof, or by a codicil executed in manner hereinbefore required, and showing an intention to revive the same.
(2) When any will or codicil, which has been partly revoked and afterwards wholly revoked, is revived, such revival shall not extend to so much thereof as has been revoked before the revocation of the whole thereof, unless an intention to the contrary is shown by the will or codicil.

Construction of Wills:

Wording of will:

Section 74:
It is not necessary that any technical words or terms of art be used in a will, but only that the wording be such that the intentions of the testator can be known there from.


Inquiries to determine questions as to object or subject of will:

Section 75:
For the purpose of determining questions as to what person or what property is denoted by any words used in a will, a Court shall inquire into every material fact relating to the persons who claim to be interested under such will, the property which is claimed as the subject of disposition, the circumstances of the testator and of his family, and into every fact a knowledge of which may conduce to the right application of the words which the testator has used.


Illustrations
(i) A, by his will, bequeaths 1,000 rupees to his eldest son or to his youngest grandchild, or to his cousin, Mary. A Court may make inquiry in order to ascertain to what person the description in the will applies.
(ii) A, by his will, leaves to B "my estate called Black Acre". It may be necessary to take evidence in order to ascertain what is the subject-matter of the bequest; that is to say, what estate of the testator's is called Black Acre.
(iii) A, by his will, leaves to B "the estate which I purchased of C". It may be necessary to take evidence in order to ascertain what estate the testator purchased of C.

Misnomer or misdescription of object:

Section 76:
(1) Where the words used in a will to designate or describe a legatee or a class of legatees sufficiently show what is meant, an error in the name or description shall not prevent the legacy from taking effect.
(2) A mistake in the name of a legatee may be corrected by a description of him, and a mistake in the description of a legatee may be corrected by the name.
Illustrations
(i) A bequeaths a legacy to "Thomas, the second son of my brother John". The testator has an only brother named John, who has no son named Thomas, but has a second son whose name is William. William will have the legacy.
(ii) A bequeaths a legacy "to Thomas, the second son of my brother John". The testator has an only brother, named John, whose first son is named Thomas and whose second son is named William. Thomas will have the legacy.
(iii) The testator bequeaths his property "to A and B, the legitimate children of C". C has no legitimate child, but has two illegitimate children, A and B. The bequest to A and B takes effect, although they are illegitimate.


(iv) The testator gives his residuary estate to be divided among "my seven children" and, proceeding to enumerate them, mentions six names only. This omission will not prevent the seventh child from taking a share with the others.
(v) The testator, having six grandchildren, makes a bequest to "my six grandchildren" and, proceeding to mention them by their Christian names, mentions one twice over omitting another altogether. The one whose name is not mentioned will take a share with the others.
(vi) The testator bequeaths "1,000 rupees to each of the three children of A". At the date of the will A has four children. Each of these four children will, if he survives the testator, receive a legacy of 1,000 rupees.


When words may be supplied:

Section 77:
Where any word material to the full expression of the meaning has been omitted, it may be supplied by the context.
Illustration
The testator gives a legacy of "five hundred" to his daughter A and a legacy of "five hundred rupees" to his daughter B. A will take a legacy of five hundred rupees.

Rejection of erroneous particulars in description of subject:

Section 78:
If the thing which the testator intended to bequeath can be sufficiently identified from the description of it given in the will, but some parts of the description do not apply, such parts of the description shall be rejected as erroneous, and the bequest shall take effect.
Illustrations
(i) A bequeaths to B "my marsh-lands lying in L and in the occupation of X". The testator had marsh-lands lying in L but had no marsh-lands in the occupation of X. The words "in the occupation of X" shall be rejected as erroneous, and the marsh-lands of the testator lying in L will pass by the bequest.
(ii) The testator bequeaths to A "my zamindari of Rampur". He had an estate at Rampur but it was a taluq and not a zamindari. The taluq passes by this bequest.

When part of description may not be rejected as erroneous:

Section 79:
If a will mentions several circumstances as descriptive of the thing which the testator intends to bequeath, and there is any property of his in respect of which all those circumstances exist, the bequest shall be considered as limited to such property, and it shall not be lawful to reject any part of the description as erroneous, because the testator had other property to which such part of the description does not apply.
Explanation.--In judging whether a case falls within the meaning of this section, any words which would be liable to rejection under section 78 shall be deemed to have been struck out of the will.


Illustrations
(i) A bequeaths to B "my marsh-lands lying in L and in the occupation of X". The testator had marsh-lands lying in L, some of which were in the occupation of X, and some not in the occupation of X. The bequest will be considered as limited to such of the testator's marsh-lands lying in L as were in the occupation of X.
(ii) A bequeaths to B "my marsh-lands lying in L and in the occupation of X, comprising 1,000 bighas of lands". The testator had marsh-lands lying in L some of which were in the occupation of X and some not in the occupation of X. The measurement is wholly inapplicable to the marsh-lands of either class, or to the whole taken together. The measurement will be considered as struck out of the will, and such of the testator's marsh-lands lying in L as were in the occupation of X shall alone pass by the bequest.

Extrinsic evidence admissible in cases of patent ambiguity:

Section 80:
Where the words of a will are unambiguous, but it is found by extrinsic evidence that they admit of applications, one only of which can have been intended by the testator, extrinsic evidence may be taken to show which of these applications was intended.

Illustrations
(i) A man, having two cousins of the name of Mary, bequeaths a sum of money to "my cousin Mary". It appears that there are two persons, each answering the description in the will. That description, therefore, admits of two applications, only one of which can have been intended by the testator. Evidence is admissible to show which of the two applications was intended.
(ii) A, by his will, leaves to B "my estate called Sultanpur Khurd". It turns out that he had two estates called Sultanpur Khurd. Evidence is admissible to show which estate was intended.


Extrinsic evidence inadmissible in case of patent ambiguity or deficiency:

Section 81:
Where there is an ambiguity or deficiency on the face of a will, no extrinsic evidence as to the intentions of the testator shall be admitted.

Illustrations
(i) A man has an aunt, Caroline, and a cousin, Mary, and has no aunt of the name of Mary. By his will he bequeaths 1,000 rupees to "my aunt, Caroline" and 1,000 rupees to "my cousin, Mary" and afterwards bequeaths 2,000 rupees to "my before-mentioned aunt, Mary". There is no person to whom the description given in the will can apply, and evidence is not admissible to show who was meant by "my before- mentioned aunt, Mary". The bequest is therefore void for uncertainty under section 89.
(ii) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to leaving a blank for the name of the legatee. Evidence is not admissible to show what name the testator intended to insert.
(iii) A bequeaths to B rupees, or "my estate of ". Evidence is not admissible to show what sum or what estate the testator intended to insert.

Meaning of clause to be collected from entire will:
Section 82:


The meaning of any clause in a will is to be collected from the entire instrument, and all its parts are to be construed with reference to each other.
Illustrations
(i) The testator gives to B a specific fund or property at the death of A, and by a subsequent clause gives the whole of his property to A. The effect of the several clauses taken together is to vest the specific fund or property in A for life, and after his decease in B; it appearing from the bequest to B that the testator meant to use in a restricted sense the words in which he describes what he gives to A.


(ii) Where a testator having an estate, one part of which is called Black Acre, bequeaths the whole of his estate to A, and in another part of his will bequeaths Black Acre to B, the latter bequest is to be read as an exception out of the first as if he had said "I give Black Acre to B, and all the rest of my estate to A".

When words may be understood in restricted sense, and when in sense wider than usual:
Section 83:


General words may be understood in a restricted sense where it may be collected from the will that the testator meant to use them in a restricted sense; and words may be understood in a wider sense than that which they usually bear, where it may be collected from the other words of the will that the testator meant to use them in such wider sense.

Illustrations
(i) A testator gives to A "my farm in the occupation of B," and to C "all my marsh-lands in L". Part of the farm in the occupation of B consists of marsh-lands in L, and the testator also has other marsh- lands in L. The general words, "all my marsh-lands in L," are restricted by the gift to A. A takes the whole of the farm in the occupation of B, including that portion of the farm which consists of marsh-lands in L.
(ii) The testator (a sailor on ship-board) bequeathed to his mother his gold ring, buttons and chest of clothes, and to his friend, A (a shipmate), his red box, clasp-knife and all things not before bequeathed. The testator's share in a house does not pass to A under this bequest.
(iii) A, by his will, bequeathed to B all his household furniture, plate, linen, china, books, pictures and all other goods of whatever kind; and afterwards bequeathed to B a specified part of his property. Under the first bequest B is entitled only to such articles of the testator's as are of the same nature with the articles therein enumerated.


Which of two possible constructions preferred?
Section 84:


Where a clause is susceptible of two meanings according to one of which it has some effect, and according to the other of which it can have none, the former shall be preferred.

No part rejected, if can be it reasonably construed:
Section 85:


No part of a will shall be rejected as destitute of meaning if it is possible to put a reasonable construction upon it.


Interpretation of words repeated in different parts of will:
Section 86:


If the same words occur in different parts of the same will, they shall be taken to have been used everywhere in the same sense, unless a contrary intention appears.


Testator's intention to be effectuated as far as possible:
Section 87:


The intention of the testator shall not be set aside because it cannot take effect to the full extent, but effect is to be given to it as far as possible.
Illustration
The testator by a will made on his death-bed bequeathed all his property to C. D. for life and after his decease to a certain hospital. The intention of the testator cannot take effect to its full extent because the gift to the hospital is void under section 118, but it will take effect so far as regards the gift to C. D.


The last of two inconsistent clauses prevails:
Section 88:


Where two clauses of gifts in a will are irreconcilable, so that they cannot possibly stand together, the last shall prevail.


Illustrations
(i) The testator by the first clause of his will leaves his estate of Ramnagar "to A," and by the last clause of his will leaves it "to B and not to A". B will have it.
(ii) If a man, at the commencement of his will gives his house to A, and at the close of it directs that his house shall be sold and the proceeds invested for the benefit of B, the latter disposition will prevail.

Void Wills:

Will or bequest void for uncertainty:
Section 89:


A will or bequest not expressive of any definite intention is void for uncertainty. Illustration If a testator says" I bequeath goods to A," or" I bequeath to A," or" I leave to A all the goods mentioned in the Schedule" and no Schedule is found, or" I bequeath" money,'' wheat,'' oil,'" or the like, without saying how much, this is void.

Words describing subject refer to property answering description at testator's death:
Section 90:

The description contained in a will of property, the subject of gift, shall, unless a contrary intention appears by the will, be deemed to refer to and comprise the property answering that description at the death of the testator.

Power of appointment executed by general bequest:
Section 91:


Unless a contrary intention appears by the will, a bequest of the estate of the testator shall be construed to include any property which he may have power to appoint by will to any object he may think proper, and shall operate as an execution of such power; and a bequest of property described in a general manner shall be construed to include any property to which such description may extend, which he may have power to appoint by will to any object he may think proper, and shall operate as an execution of such power.

Implied gift to objects of power in default of appointment:
Section 92:


Where property is bequeathed to or for the benefit of certain objects as a specified person may appoint or for the benefit of certain objects in such proportions as a specified person may appoint, and the will does not provide for the event of no appointment being made; if the power given by the will is not exercised, the property belongs to all the objects of the power in equal shares.


Illustration
A, by his will, bequeaths a fund to his wife, for her life, and directs that at her death it shall be divided among his children in such proportions as she shall appoint. The widow dies without having made any appointment. The fund will be divided equally among the children.

Bequest to "heirs," etc., of particular person without qualifying terms:
section 93:


Where a bequest is made to the "heirs" or "right heirs" or "relations" or "nearest relations" or "family" cr "kindred" or "nearest of kin" or "next-of-kin" of a particular person without any qualifying terms, and the class so designated forms the direct and independent object of the bequest, the property bequeathed shall be distributed as if it had belonged to such person and he had died intestate in respect of it, leaving assets for the payment of his debts independently of such property.


Illustrations
(i) A leaves his property "to my own nearest relations". The property goes to those who would be entitled to it if A had died intestate, leaving assets for the payment of his debts independently of such property.
(ii) A bequeaths 10,000 rupees "to B for his life, and, after the death of B, to my own right heirs". The legacy after B's death belongs to those who would be entitled to it if it had formed part of A's un-bequeathed property.
(iii) A leaves his property to B; but if B dies before him, to B's next-of-kin; B dies before A; the property devolves as if it had belonged to B, and he had died intestate, leaving assets for the payment of his debts independently of such property.
(iv) A leaves 10,000 rupees "to B for his life, and after his decease to the heirs of C". The legacy goes as if it had belonged to C, and he had died intestate, leaving assets for the payment of his debts independently of the legacy.

Bequest to "representatives," etc., of particular person:
Section 94:


Where a bequest is made to the "representatives" or "legal representatives" or "personal representatives" or "executors or administrators" of a particular person, and the class so designated forms the direct and independent object of the bequest, the property bequeathed shall be distributed as if it had belonged to such person and he had died intestate in respect of it.


Illustration
A bequest is made to the "legal representatives" of A. A has died intestate and insolvent. B is his administrator. B is entitled to receive the legacy, and will apply it in the first place to the discharge of such part of A's debts as may remain unpaid: if there be any surplus B will pay it to those persons who at A's death would have been entitled to receive any property of A's which might remain after payment of his debts, or to the representatives of such persons.

Bequest without words of limitation:
Section 95:


Where property is bequeathed to any person, he is entitled to the whole interest of the testator therein, unless it appears from the will that only a restricted interest was intended for him.


Bequest in alternative:
Section 96:


Where a property is bequeathed to a person with a bequest in the alternative to another person or to a class of persons, then, if a contrary intention does not appear by the will, the legatee first named shall be entitled to the legacy if he is alive at the time when it takes effect; but if he is then dead, the person or class of persons named in the second branch of the alternative shall take the legacy.


Illustrations
(i) A bequest is made to A or to B. A survives the testator. B takes nothing.
(ii) A bequest is made to A or to B. A dies after the date of the will, and before the testator. The legacy goes to B.
(iii) A bequest is made to A or to B. A is dead at the date of the will. The legacy goes to B.
(iv) Property is bequeathed to A or his heirs. A survives the testator. A takes the property absolutely.


(v) Property is bequeathed to A or his nearest of kin. A dies in the lifetime of the testator. Upon the death of the testator, the bequest to A's nearest of kin takes effect.
(vi) Property is bequeathed to A for life, and after his death to B or his heirs. A and Bsurvive the testator. B dies in A's lifetime. Upon A's death the bequest to the heirs of B takes effect.
(vii) Property is bequeathed to A for life, and after his death to B or his heirs. B dies in the testator's lifetime. A survives the testator. Upon A's death the bequest to the heirs of B takes effect.


Effect of words describing a class added to bequest to person:
Section 97:

Where property is bequeathed to a person, and words are added which describe a class of persons but do not denote them as direct objects of a distinct and independent gift, such person is entitled to the whole interest of the testator therein, unless a contrary intention appears by the will.


Illustrations
(i) A bequest is made--
to A and his children,
to A and his children by his present wife,
to A and his heirs,
to A and the heirs of his body,
to A and the heirs male of his body,
to A and the heirs female of his body,
to A and his issue,
to A and his family,
to A and his descendants,
to A and his representatives,
tp A and his personal representatives,
to A, his executors and administrators.


In each of these cases, A takes the whole interest which the testator had in the property.
(ii) A bequest is made to A and his brothers. A and his brothers are jointly entitled to the legacy.
(iii) A bequest is made to A for life and after his death to his issue. At the death of A the property belongs in equal shares to all persons who then answer the description of issue of A.

Bequest to class of persons under general description only:
Section 98:


Where a bequest is made to a class of persons under a general description only, no one to whom the words of the description are not in their ordinary sense applicable shall take the legacy.

Construction of terms:
Section 99:


In a will--
(a) The word "children" applies only to lineal descendants in the first degree of the person whose "children" are spoken of;
(b) The word "grandchildren" applies only to lineal descendants in the second degree of the person whose "grandchildren" are spoken of;
(c) The words "nephews" and "nieces" apply only to children of brothers or sisters;
(d) the words "cousins", or "first cousins", or "cousins German," apply only to children of brothers or of sisters of the father or mother of the person whose "cousins," or "first cousins," or "cousins-german," are spoken of;


(e) The words "first cousins once removed" apply only to children of cousins-german or to cousins-german of a parent of the person whose "first cousins once removed” are spoken of;
(f) The words "second cousins" apply only to grandchildren of brothers or of sisters of the grandfather or grandmother of the person whose "second cousins" are spoken of;
(g) The words "issue" and "descendants" apply to all lineal descendants whatever of the person whose "issue" or “descendants" are spoken of;
(h) Words expressive of collateral relationship apply alike to relatives of full and of half blood; and
(i) All words expressive of relationship apply to a child in the womb who is afterwards born alive.

Words expressing relationship denote only legitimate relatives or failing such relatives reputed legitimate:
Section 100:


In the absence of any intimation to the contrary in a will, the word "child," the word "son," the word "daughter," or any word which expresses relationship, is to be understood as denoting only a legitimate relative, or, where there is no such legitimate relative, a person who has acquired, at the date of the will, the reputation of being such relative.
Illustrations
(i) A having three children, B, C and D, of whom B and C are legitimate and D is illegitimate, leaves his property to be equally divided among "my children". The property belongs to B and C in equal shares, to the exclusion of D.
(ii) A, having a niece of illegitimate birth, who has acquired the reputation of being his niece, and having no legitimate niece, bequeaths a sum of money to his niece. The illegitimate niece is entitled to the legacy.
(iii) A, having in his will enumerated his children, and named as one of them B, who is illegitimate, leaves a legacy to "my said children". B will take a share in the legacy along with the legitimate children.


(iv) A leaves a legacy to "the children of B". B is dead and has left none but illegitimate children. All those who had at the date of the will acquired the reputation of being the children of B are objects of the gift.
(v) A bequeaths a legacy to "the children of B". B never had any legitimate child. C and D had, at the date of the will, acquired the reputation of being children of B. After the date of the will and before the death of the testator, E and F were born, and acquired the reputation of being children of B. Only C and D are objects of the bequest.
(vi) A makes a bequest in favour of his child by a certain woman, not his wife. B had acquired at the date of the will the reputation of being the child of A by the woman designated. B takes the legacy.


(vii) A makes a bequest in favour of his child to be born of a woman who never becomes his wife. The bequest is void.
(viii) A makes a bequest in favour of the child of which a certain woman, not married to him, is pregnant. The bequest is void.

Rules of construction where purports to make two bequests to same person will:
Section 101:


Where a will purports to make two bequests to the same person, and a question arises whether the testator intended to make the second bequest instead of or in addition to the first; if there is nothing in the will to show what he intended, the following rules shall have effect in determining the construction to be put upon the will:--
(a) If the same specific thing is bequeathed twice to the same legatee in the same will or in the will and again in the codicil, he is entitled to receive that specific thing only.
(b) Where one and the same will or one and the same codicil purports to make, in two places, a bequest to the same person of the same quantity or amount of anything, he shall be entitled to one such legacy only.


(c) Where two legacies of unequal amount are given to the same person in the same will, or in the same codicil, the legatee is entitled to both.
(d) Where two legacies, whether equal or unequal in amount, are given to the same legatee, one by a will and the other by a codicil, or each by a different codicil, the legatee is entitled to both legacies.
Explanation.--In clauses (a) to (d) of this section, the word "will" does not include a codicil.


Illustrations
(i) A, having ten shares, and no more, in the Imperial Bank of India, made his will, which contains near its commencement the words "I bequeath my ten shares in the Imperial Bank of India to B". After other bequests, the will concludes with the words "and I bequeath my ten shares in the Imperial Bank of India to B". B is entitled simply to receive A's ten shares in the Imperial Bank of India.
(ii) A, having one diamond ring, which was given him by B, bequeaths to C the diamond ring which was given by B. A afterwards made a codicil to his will, and thereby, after giving other legacies, he bequeathed to C the diamond ring which was given him by B. C can claim nothing except the diamond ring which was given to A by B.
(iii) A, by his will, bequeaths to B the sum of 5,000 rupees and afterwards in the same will repeats the bequest in the same words. B is entitled to one legacy of 5,000 rupees only.


(iv) A, by his will, bequeaths to B the sum of 5,000 rupees and afterwards in the same will bequeaths to B the sum of 6,000 rupees. B is entitled to receive 11,000 rupees.
(v) A, by his will, bequeaths to B 5,000 rupees and by a codicil to the will he bequeaths to him 5,000 rupees. B is entitled to receive 10,000 rupees.
(vi) A, by one codicil to his will, bequeaths to B 5,000 rupees and by another codicil bequeaths to him, 6,000 rupees. B is entitled to receive 11,000 rupees.
(vii) A, by his will, bequeaths "500 rupees to B because she was my nurse", and in another part of the will bequeaths 500 rupees to B "because she went to England with my children". B is entitled to receive 1,000 rupees.
(viii) A, by his will, bequeaths to B the sum of 5,000 rupees and also, in another part of the will, an annuity of 400 rupees. B is entitled to both legacies.
(ix) A, by his will, bequeaths to B the sum of 5,000 rupees and also bequeaths to him the sum of 5,000 rupees if he shall attain the age of 18. B is entitled absolutely to one sum of 5,000 rupees, and takes a contingent interest in another sum of 5,000 rupees.

Constitution of residuary legatee:
Section 102:


A residuary legatee may be constituted by any words that show an intention on the part of the testator that the person designated shall take the surplus or residue of his property.

Illustrations
(i) A makes her will, consisting of several testamentary papers, in one of which are contained the following words: "I think there will be something left, after all funeral expenses, etc., to give to B, now at school, towards equipping him to any profession he may hereafter be appointed to." B is constituted residuary legatee.
(ii) A makes his will, with the following passage at the end of it:--"I believe there will be found sufficient in my banker's hands to defray and discharge my debts, which I hereby, desire B to do, and keep the residue for her own use and pleasure." B is constituted the residuary legatee.
(iii) A bequeaths all his property to B, except certain stocks and funds, which he bequeaths to C. B is the residuary legatee.

Property to which residuary legatee entitled:
Section 103:


Under a residuary bequest, the legatee is entitled to all property belonging to the testator at the time of his death, of which he has not made any other testamentary disposition which is capable of taking effect.


Illustration

A by his will bequeaths certain legacies, of which one is void under section 118, and another lapses by the death of the legatee. He bequeaths the residue of his property to B. After the date of his will A purchases a zamindari, which belongs to him at the time of his death. B is entitled to the two legacies and the zamindari as part of the residue.

Time of vesting legacy in general terms:
Section 104:

If a legacy is given in general terms, without specifying the time when it is to be paid, the legatee has a vested interest in it from the day of the death of the testator, and, if he dies without having received it, it shall pass to his representatives.

In what case legacy lapses:
Section 105:

(1) If the legatee does not survive the testator, the legacy cannot take effect, but shall lapse and form part of the residue of the testator's property, unless it appears by the will that the testator intended that it should go to some other person.
(2) In order to entitle the representatives of the legatee to receive the legacy, it must be proved that he survived the testator.


Illustrations
(i) The testator bequeaths to B "500 rupees which B owes me". B dies before the testator; the legacy lapses.
(ii) A bequest is made to A and his children. A dies before the testator, or happens to be dead when the will is made. The legacy to A and his children lapses.
(iii) A legacy is given to A, and, in case of his dying before the testator, to B. A dies before the testator. The legacy goes to B.
(iv) A sum of money is bequeathed to A for life, and after his death to B. A dies in the lifetime of the testator; B survives the testator. The bequest to B takes effect.


(v) A sum of money is bequeathed to A on his completing his eighteenth year, and in case he should die before he completes his eighteenth year, to B. A completes his eighteenth year, and dies in the lifetime of the testator. The legacy to a lapses, and the bequest to B does not take effect.
(vi) The testator and the legatee perished in the same ship- wreck. There is no evidence to show which died first. The legacy lapses.

Legacy does not lapse if one of two joint legatees die before testator:
Section 106:

If a legacy is given to two persons jointly, and one of them dies before the testator, the other legatee takes the whole.


Illustration
The legacy is simply to A and B. A dies before the testator. B takes the legacy.

Effect of words showing testator's intention to give distinct shares:
Section 107:


If a legacy is given to legatees in words which show that the testator intended to give them distinct shares of it, then, if any legatee dies before the testator, so much of the legacy as was intended for him shall fall into the residue of the testator's property.


Illustration
A sum of money is bequeathed to A, B and C, to be equally divided among them. A dies before the testator. B and C will only take so much as they would have had if A had survived the testator.

When lapsed share goes as undisposed of:
Section 108:

Where a share which lapses is a part of the general residue bequeathed by the will, that share shall go as undisposed of.


Illustration
The testator bequeaths the residue of his estate to A, B and C, to be equally divided between them. A dies before the testator. His one-third of the residue goes as undisposed of.

When bequest to testator's child or lineal descendant does not lapse on his death in testator's lifetime:
Section 109:

Where a bequest has been made to any child or other lineal descendant of the testator, and the legatee dies in the lifetime of the testator, but any lineal descendant of his survives the testator, the bequest shall not lapse, but shall take effect as if the death of the legatee had happened immediately after the death of the testator, unless a contrary intention appears by the will.


Illustration
A makes his will, by which he bequeaths a sum of money to his son, B, for his own absolute use and benefit. B dies before A, leaving a son, C, who survives A, and having made his will whereby he bequeaths all his property to his widow, D. The money goes to D.

Bequest to A for benefit of B does not lapse by A's death:
Section 110:

Where a bequest is made to one person for the benefit of another, the legacy does not lapse by the death, in the testator's lifetime, of the person to whom the bequest is made.

Survivorship in case of bequest to described class:
Section 111:

Where a bequest is made simply to a described class of persons, the thing bequeathed shall go only to such as are alive at the testator's death.
Exception.--If property is bequeathed to a class of persons described as standing in a particular degree of kindred to a specified individual, but their possession of it is deferred until a time later than the death of the testator by reason of a prior bequest or otherwise, the property shall at that time go to such of them as are then alive, and to the representatives of any of them who have died since the death of the testator.


Illustrations
(i) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to "the children of B" without saying when it is to be distributed among them. B had died previous to the date of the will, leaving three children, C, D and E. E died after the date of the will, but before the death of A. C and D survive A.
The legacy will belong to C and D, to the exclusion of the representatives of E.
(ii) A lease for years of a house was bequeathed to A for his life, and after his decease to the children of B. At the death of the testator, B had two children living; C and D, and he never had any other child. Afterwards, during the lifetime of A, C died, leaving E, his executor. D has survived A, D and E are jointly entitled to so much of the leasehold term as remains unexpired.


(iii) A sum of money was bequeathed to A for her life, and after her decease to the children of B. At the death of the testator, B had two children living, C and D, and, after that event, two children, E and F, were born to B. C and E died in the lifetime of A, C having made a will, E having made no will. A has died, leaving D and F surviving her. The legacy is to be divided into four equal parts, one of which is to be paid to the executor of C, one to D, one to the administrator of E and one to F.
(iv) A bequeaths one-third of his lands to B for his life, and after his decease to the sisters of B. At the death of the testator, B had two sisters living, C and D, and after that event another sister E was born. C died during the life of B, D and E have survived B. One- third of A's land belong to D, E and the representatives of C, in equal shares.
(v) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to B for life and after his death equally among the children of C. Up to the death of B, C had not had any child. The bequest after the death of B is void.


(vi) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to "all the children born or to be born" of B to be divided among them at the death of C. At the death of the testator, B has two children living, D and E. After the death of the testator, but in the lifetime of C, two other children, F and G, are born to B. After the death of C, another child is born to B. The legacy belongs to D, E, F and G, to the exclusion of the after-born child of B.
(vii) A bequeaths a fund to the children of B, to be divided among them when the eldest shall attain majority. At the testator's death, B had one child living, named C. He afterwards had two other children, named D and E. E died, but C and D were living when C attained majority. The fund belongs to C, D and the representatives of E, to the exclusion of any child who may be born to B after C's attaining majority.

void Bequests

Bequest to person by particular description, who is not in existence at testator's death:
Section 112:

Where a bequest is made to a person by a particular description, and there is no person in existence at the testator's death who answers the description, the bequest is void.
Exception.--If property is bequeathed to a person described as standing in a particular degree of kindred to a specified individual, but his possession of it is deferred until a time later than the death of the testator, by reason of a prior bequest or otherwise; and if a person answering the description is alive at the death of the testator, or comes into existence between that event and such later time, the property shall, at such later time, go to that person, or, if he is dead, to his representatives.


Illustrations

(i) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to the eldest son of B. At the death of the testator, B has no son. The bequest is void.
(ii) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to B for life, and after his death to the eldest son of C. At the death of the testator, C had no son. Afterwards, during the life of B, a son is born to C. Upon B's death the legacy goes to C's son.
(iii) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to B for life, and after his death to the eldest son of C. At the death of the testator, C had no son. Afterwards, during the life of B, a son, named D, is born to C. D dies, then B dies. The legacy goes to the representative of D.
(iv) A bequeaths his estate of Green Acre to B for life, and at his decease, to the eldest son of C. Up to the death of B, C has had no son. The bequest to C's eldest son is void.
(v) A bequeaths 1,000 rupees to the eldest son of C, to be paid to him after the death of B. At the death of the testator C has no son, but a son is afterwards born to him during the life of B and is alive at B's death. C's son is entitled to the 1,000 rupees.

Bequest to person not in existence at testator's death subject to prior bequest:
Section 113:


Where a bequest is made to a person not in existence at the time of the testator's death, subject to a prior bequest contained in the will, the later bequest shall be void, unless it comprises the whole of the remaining interest of the testator in the thing bequeathed.

Illustrations
(i) Property is bequeathed to A for his life, and after his death to his eldest son for life, and after the death of the latter to his eldest son. At the time of the testator's death, A has no son. Here the bequest to A's eldest son is a bequest to a person not in existence at the testator's death. It is not bequest of the whole interest that remains to the testator. The bequest to A's eldest son for his life is void.
(ii) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life, and after his death to his daughters. A survives the testator. A has daughters some of whom were not in existence at the testator's death. The bequest to A's daughters comprises the whole interest that remains to the testator in the thing bequeathed. The bequest to A's daughters is valid.
(iii) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life, and after his death to his daughters, with a direction that, if any of them marries under the age of eighteen, her portion shall be settled so that it may belong to herself for life and may be divisible among her children after her death. A has no daughters living at the time of the testator's death, but has daughters born afterwards who survive him. Here the direction for a settlement has the effect in the case of each daughter who marries under eighteen of substituting for the absolute bequest to her a bequest to her merely for her life; that is to say, a bequest to a person not in existence at the time of the testator's death of something which is less than the whole interest that remains to the testator in the thing bequeathed. The direction to settle the fund is void.


(iv) A bequeaths a sum of money to B for life, and directs that upon the death of B the fund shall be settled upon his daughters, so that the portion of each daughter may belong to herself for life, and may be divided among her children after her death. B has no daughter living at the time of the testator's death. In this case the only bequest to the daughters of B is contained in the direction to settle the fund, and this direction amounts to a bequest to persons not yet born, of a life-interest in the fund, that is to say, of something which is less than the whole interest that remains to the testator in the thing bequeathed. The direction to settle the fund upon the daughters of B is void.


Rule against perpetuity:
Section 114:

No bequest is valid whereby the vesting of the thing bequeathed may be delayed beyond the life-time of one or more persons living at the testator's death and the minority of some person who shall be in existence at the expiration of that period, and to whom, if he attains full age, the thing bequeathed is to belong.


Illustrations
(i) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life and after his death to B for his life; and after B's death to such of the sons of B as shall first attain the age of 25. A and B survive the testator. Here the son of B who shall first attain the age of 25 may be a son born after the death of the testator; such son may not attain 25 until more than 18 years have elapsed from the death of the longer liver of A and B; and the vesting of the fund may thus be delayed beyond the lifetime of A and B and the minority of the sons of B. The bequest after B's death is void.
(ii) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life, and after his death to B for his life, and after B's death to such of B's sons as shall first attain the age of 25. B dies in the lifetime of the testator, leaving one or more sons. In this case the sons of B are persons living at the time of the testator's decease, and the time when either of them will attain 25 necessarily falls within his own lifetime. The bequest is valid.


(iii) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life, and after his death to B for his life, with a direction that after B's death it shall be divided amongst such of B's children as shall attain the age of 18, but that, if no child of B shall attain that age, the fund shall go to C. Here the time for the division of the fund must arrive at the latest at the expiration of 18 years from the death of B, a person living at the testator's decease. All the bequests are valid.
(iv) A fund is bequeathed to trustees for the benefit of the testator's daughters, with a direction that, if any of them marry under age, her share of the fund shall be settled so as to devolve after her death upon such of her children as shall attain the age of 18. Any daughter of the testator to whom the direction applies must be in existence at his decease, and any portion of the fund which may eventually be settled as directed must vest not later than 18 years from the death of the daughters whose share it was. All these provisions are valid.


Bequest to a class some of whom may come under rules in sections 113 and 114:
Section 115:


If a bequest is made to a class of persons with regard to some of whom it is inoperative by reason of the provisions of section 113 or section 114, such bequest shall be void in regard to those persons only and not in regard to the whole class.


Illustrations
(i) A fund is bequeathed to A for life, and after his death to all his children who shall attain the age of 25. A survives the testator, and has some children living at the testator's death. Each child of A's living at the testator's death must attain the age of 25 (if at all) within the limits allowed for a bequest. But A may have children after the testator's decease, some of whom may not attain the age of 25 until more than 18 years have elapsed after the decease of A. The bequest to A's children, therefore, is inoperative as to any child born after the testator's death; 2*[and in regard to those who do not attain the age of 25 within 18 years after A's death, but is operative in regard to the other children of A].


(ii) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life, and after his death to B, C, D and all other children of A who shall attain the age of 25. B, C, D is children of A living at the testator's decease. In all other respects the case is the same as that supposed in Illustration
(i). although the mention of B, C and D does not prevent the bequest from being regarded as a bequest to a class, it is not wholly void. It is operative as regards any of the children B, C or D, who attains the age of 25 within 18 years after A's death.


Bequest to take effect on failure of prior bequest:
Section 116:

Where by reason of any of the rules contained in sections 113 and 114, any bequest in favour of a person or of a class of persons is void in regard to such person or the whole of such class, any bequest contained in the same will and intended to take effect after or upon failure of such prior bequest is also void.
Illustrations
(i) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life, and after his death to such of his sons as shall first attain the age of 25, for his life, and after the decease of such son to B. A and B survive the testator. The bequest to B is intended to take effect after the bequest to such of the sons of A as shall first attain the age of 25, which bequest is void under section 114. The bequest to B is void.
(ii) A fund is bequeathed to A for his life and after his death to such of his sons as shall first attain the age of 25, and, if no son of A shall attain that age, to B. A and B survive the testator. The bequest to B is intended to take effect upon failure of the bequest to such of A's sons as shall first attain the age of 25, which bequest is void under section 114. The bequest to B is void.


Effect of direction for accumulation:
Section 117:

(1) Where the terms of a will direct that the income arising from any property shall be accumulated either wholly or in part during any period longer than a period of eighteen years from the death of the testator, such direction shall, save as hereinafter provided, be void to the extent to which the period during which the accumulation is directed exceeds the aforesaid period, and at the end of such period of eighteen years the property and the income thereof shall be disposed of as if the period during which the accumulation has been directed to be made had elapsed.
(2) This section shall not affect any direction for accumulation for the purpose of--
(i) The payment of the debts of the testator or any other person taking any interest under the will, or
(ii) The provision of portions for children or remoter issue of the testator or of any other person taking any interest under the will, or
(iii) The preservation or maintenance of any property bequeathed; and such direction may be made accordingly.]


Bequest to religious or charitable uses:
Section 118:

No man having a nephew or niece or any nearer relative shall have power to bequeath any property to religious or charitable uses, except by a will executed not less than twelve months before his death, and deposited within six months from its execution in some place provided by law for the safe custody of the wills of living persons: ["Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to a Parsi."]


Illustrations

A having a nephew makes a bequest by a will not executed and deposited as required-- for the relief of poor people; for the maintenance of sick soldiers; for the erection or support of a hospital; for the education and preferment of orphans; for the support of scholars; for the erection or support of a school; for the building and repairs of a bridge; for the making of roads; for the erection or support of a church; for the repairs of a church; for the benefit of ministers of religion; for the formation or support of a public garden;

All these bequests are void.