How to prepare concurrent wills?

This blog will help you in understanding the meaning and importance of a concurrent will. Also, it will assist you in preparing a concurrent will if you have an estate in foreign jurisdictions.

What is a Concurrent will?

The general rule is that a man prepares only one Will at the time of his death. However, for the sake of convenience, a testator may dispose of some properties, e.g. those in one country, by one Will, and those in another country by another Will that means a testator makes a different will for the property located in different geographical locations.

They may be treated as wholly independent of each other unless there is an inter-connection or the incorporation of the one in the other. Hence, concurrent will are two different wills administering with testamentary declarations of a single testator, also known as co-existing wills.

Concurrent wills should not be confused with duplicate wills because duplicate wills are made by a testator for the sake of safety where the one is to be kept by him and the other placed in some safe custody with a bank or executor or trustee or an agent, etc.

Each copy of such duplicate will must be duly signed and attested to assuring its validity and authenticity. A valid revocation of the original would affect a valid revocation of the duplicate also, but the same is not applicable in the case of concurrent will as they are independent of each other.

What are the benefits of preparing concurrent wills?

If you have assets in multiple countries, then you can prepare a concurrent will in each of the countries having assets. This will make the administration of the estate efficient.

In the future, if there will be any conflict or dispute concerning the will or estate situated at different places, then complications arising from such disagreement can be precluded. There will be clarity about the applicable law of the land.

Hence, you can execute any number of concurrent wills for better outlining of your estate.

Benefits of having concurrent wills are:

  1. Reduces time and efforts in executing probate
    For concurrent will, the application for the probation of each will is made in the respective countries to which it applies. Whereas for single will, an application for probate is made in one country and then the probate is resealed in each country where the will must be proven. This will make the task of probation tedious and expensive.

    Hence, it is always advisable to make concurrent wills of the estate situated in different countries so that probation of will can be performed efficiently without any delay.
  2. Faster distribution of wealth
    Concurrent Will paves the way for passing on your wealth smoothly to your loved ones or the beneficiaries. They don’t have to go through the complex procedures of the court to get their proportion of share. 
  3. Tax evasion:
    ax evasion to inherited assets differs across countries. Some countries impose higher taxes for properties to be passed on to individuals residing in another country, but some countries allow tax evasions. With multiple wills, you are more likely to get tax compensations too.
  4. Less legal complications: No laws and regulations of the two countries are the same. For instance, in India, residents of Goa have forced heirship rules, which means they cannot transfer the asset to whoever they want outside India.

    For your will to be deemed valid, it must comply with all the formalities and rules of respective countries. Since concurrent wills are drafted following the respective country’s laws, legal complications are rare.

Are concurrent wills valid?

Yes, if a person has assets in foreign countries then he/she can have concurrent wills and such wills are legally valid. However, such will must follow the respective country’s law. Also, a person needs to make it crystal clear in the testaments that any subsequent will in another country cannot replace the previous will.

The only challenge a concurrent will faces is that it must be drafted as per the applicable laws of the country. Different jurisdictions may have different laws.

For example, in some countries, a will is not considered to be valid if there are no provisions for child or spouse to inherit the assets or given to Class-2 heirs only. Some countries may require the signatures of more than two witnesses. Hence, it is highly recommended to consult with lawyers having a specialty in property and wills.

Can a person make concurrent wills in India?

Yes, a person can make a concurrent will. In India, if there are multiple Wills written by the same testator for the estates situated in India but in different cities or states, the general rule is that the Last Will can only be taken into consideration.

However, if we say that both the Wills were written on the same date having different properties mentioned, then the beneficiaries have to enforce both together through court, whereas the court after hearing both the cases together may conclude the decision based on one Will only.

Wills in India are governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1925 and there are no provisions that explicitly deal with the formation of concurrent wills or multiple wills. If there is more than one will that is executed on different days then the will with the latest or last date is considered valid.

It is always advised that a person should make one will that includes all the movable and immovable properties to prevent any confusion.  If the person wants to make a will for separate properties with different executors and beneficiaries, then he or she can make demarcations in the same will and there is no requirement of separate wills.

The testator can amend the will any number of times he wants till the date he’s alive. The will cannot be executed before the death of the testator. Therefore, no law makes the execution of concurrent wills illegal if they are made on the same dates.

What does a concurrent will include?

A concurrent will does not have to follow any specific language or format as such varies from country to country. However, the person who is writing or making a will, called the testator, must include the following important components:

  1. He should appoint a legal representative to execute the will and administer the estate after his death known as an executor. An executor can be any person, either a member of the family or the beneficiary of the assets.
  2. The concurrent will should include the personal details of the testator as well as beneficiaries such as name, age, and place of residence that can be useful in identification.
  3. The declaration should be made by the testator that he/she is of sound mind or capable of drawing the concurrent will.
  4. Demarcations of the assets in all the countries should be done properly by the testator.
    For example- The land, house, movable property, etc of one country should be stated in one will following the country’s law, and assets in other countries should be stated in the concurrent will.
  5. The concurrent will should also contain the assets inherited by any charity trust and the minor’s share in the property.
  6. At last, the concurrent will should be signed in the presence of the witnesses and stored in safe custody.

How a concurrent will is drafted?

Like a normal will, a concurrent will is drafted in the same way. The procedure for drafting the concurrent will is:

  1. The first step in drafting a concurrent will is to do a thorough evaluation of the estate in India and other foreign countries.
  2. After this, take the help of lawyers to write a will and make sure they adhere to all the respective laws of the countries. A will can also be written by the testator himself. (Or you can click here, answer some questions and we will generate a will for you)
  3. Such a will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses.
  4. After signed, get it stamped and registered for execution.

Important points to remember

Before proceeding with administering concurrent wills, you need to keep in mind the following pointers:

  • In the case of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), there may be an additional cost for drafting wills in each domain or jurisdiction. Hence, you must discuss with legal experts and lawyers.
  • Having multiple wills may confuse your beneficiaries or loved ones, especially if there are provisions that may contradict each other. Get them well-planned with expert attorneys.
  • Usually, while performing more than one will, possibilities are the new one may revoke the former will.