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Succession Planning

Witness And Executor To The Will

Witness and Executor are two pillars of a strong Will. In this section, we will learn whom we should consider as a Witness and Executor of the Will. 


  • Choose witnesses carefully as their purpose is to prove in Courts that the Will is authentic.
  • Minimum two witnesses are needed to execute a Will while at least one is needed to prove the Will in court. There is no bar on the maximum number of witnesses.
  • Try to choose witnesses who are younger to you due to higher probability of survival. The best practice would be to have a trusted doctor and/or a lawyer as a witness to sign the Will. 
  • Remember, it is not mandatory for a witness to read the contents of a Will before signing it; because he/she only confirms that the Will has been signed in his/her presence.
  • A beneficiary cannot be a witness.


Who should be the executor of the Will?

  • An executor is a person who takes care of your assets as a custodian until they get transferred to the intended beneficiaries. So the role of an executor is very important. 
  • It is common practice in India to appoint family members / friends as executors. But executing a Will is not easy as the executor must have legal and finance knowledge plus he has to spend a lot of time and effort to get the Will probated and then executes the Will.
  • It is a good idea to appoint someone as your executor who is younger to the testator. Thereby, the executor has chances to outlive the testator. 
  • One should avoid appointing a beneficiary as an executor to avoid conflict of interest. But in the case of nuclear families, where the number of members is less, and the asset structure is not very complex, then beneficiaries (individuals) can be appointed as executors. 
  • Appointing an individual as executor is a cost effective option, as people close to the testator generally do not charge a fee for their services. 
  • But before you nominate an individual as your executor always seek his/her permission. This is because if they refuse to become an executor later, then there might be no one to execute the Will, leaving it to the court to appoint an administrator. 
  • If you don’t find a competent person as an executor for your Will, professionals such as lawyers, chartered accountants and other corporate entities offering executorship services can be chosen as executors for a fee. 
  • If the number of members in a family are large or if assets to be distributed are of large value and complex in nature then it is a better idea to appoint a corporate entity offering executorship services as your executor.
  • As no individual is perpetual in existence and may also hold a bias, increasingly, people are considering ‘professional executorship and trust companies’, which by law, have perpetual successions and are independent experts in the domain.

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Units 10/25