Are conditional wills valid? Difference between Conditional and Contingent Wills?

This article talks about are conditional wills valid?, ‘What are conditional Wills?,’ and ‘What type of Will is best?’ and provides a gist on Conditional and Contingent Wills.

An Introduction to Will 

A Will, also known as a testament is a document written by an individual who could be classified as a Testator. This document would describe the asset lists of the Testator’s possession and how those asset lists could be distributed to others as per the testator’s wish. The will document is used for legal purposes.

The Will document describes the intent of the testator and has to include the assets which the testator owns and how the distribution of those assets as per the testator’s wish. 

What are the various types of Will

There are various types of Will as per the legal system.

  • Unprivileged Will
  • Privileged Will
  • Joint Will
  • Concurrent Will
  • Mutual Wills
  • Duplicate Will
  • Sham Will
  • Conditional/ Contingent Will

In this article, let us brainstorm about the Conditional/ Contingent Will. 

What are Conditional Wills? Are conditional wills valid?

If you are pondering upon the thought, “Are Conditional Wills valid?” Read below.

Both the words contingent and conditional in English could be classified as nouns and adjectives too.

As a noun, the word contingent is an event that may or may not happen; and the word conditional is a statement that depends on a condition being true or false.

As adjectives the word contingent is whether possible or liable, but may not be certain to occur; the word conditional is limited by a condition.

As per Indian Law regulations, this type of Will takes effect in the event of satisfying the conditions mentioned in the Will. The Testator could narrate a conditional-statement/ event for the Will to be effective, and if that conditional statement/ event does not happen or has not been fulfilled then the WILL cannot be executed and will become null-and-void. 

When the Testator wants a Will to be effective only in the occurrence of certain events is called Conditional Will. The Will is not executed, if the event does not happen. It is also known as Contingent Will.

This type of Will can be holographic, meaning they are completely handwritten, or they can be formally attested wills, signed by the Testator and two witnesses. 

Usually, The Conditional Will is classified as a little complex and must be written in accordance with legal advice. This is due to the Indian Succession Act, which must have the conditions mentioned specifically; otherwise, the court will not consider it a Contingent Will.

If your question was, “What are conditional wills?” The above answer is definitely guiding you in the right direction. In addition, yes, Conditional Wills are valid.

Conditional Will has several benefits.

Primarily, Conditional Will could be executed only under the fulfillment of certain conditions.

Secondly, the Conditional Will has fixed conditions, and in case of failure of accomplishment of those conditions, the Will cannot be executed and be termed as null-and-void.

Though the Will is defined as a document which would talk about the asset-list of the Testator and his wish to distribute those assets to selected people upon his/her demise, the Conditional/ Contingent Will is used by the Testator when he/ she wants the Will to become effective only when certain events/ conditions are been fulfilled. 

For example, the Testator could add the following statement as a condition for an event to take place before his/ her Will could be executed: This Will would be executed only if my son attains 30 years and only if he is married to my sister’s daughter. 

The Checklist of a Conditional Will is so vast and qualified. Experienced lawyers must be consulted so that the Will document could be well-drafted and be made legally admissible. The lawyers could help and facilitate the Testator towards defining those conditions which could be logical and admissible as per the legal system.

What type of will is best?

There is no ‘best’ type of Will. It depends on your circumstance, situation, and the type of Will you find comfort in – for you, your family, and loved ones.

If you want to ensure that your spouse inherits all the assets once you pass – a Joint or Mirror Will is your next best option.

It is possible to create a Will and a Testament alongside as well. 

When it comes to a handwritten Will or a Holographic Will – the con is that the validity is often challenged. 

If you have large assets, it is best to speak with a lawyer and analyze the best options for you, your loved ones, and family.