For example a man dies and just leaves a letter indicating on how his estate should be distributed when he was drafting the same letter he had no witness.Is it valid?
Just a wish written on a piece of paper intending to bequeath property to a particular person/s has no legal sanctity in India (without witnesses). The short answer would be No, please discuss with a lawyer who is familiar with Indian inheritance law and the practices of your community.
We are taking about wills in India. A hand written will, provided it meets the basic criteria.The person should have been known to be of sound mind.,able to comprehend and has written his/her will, His/death is not under suspicious circumstances and is not a minor. In this case, it may not be valid because the Indian Succession Act of 1925 among other things also states that the will should have three signatures minimum. One of the person making the will and two more witnesses ( these two need not be at the same time). The witness should not be a spouse or a person named in the will as one among the benefactor.
In this case, IF there are no other wills and IF all the successors are in agreement with what is written in it and the other criteria are met, then you can approach the court.
If this is not accepted and the letter is invalid, then the division of property would be under the exisiting laws of inheritance based on the tradition of the community.
SOME MYTHS ABOUT WILLS
Wills shoudl be in a formal application or prescribed format, needs to be on a stamp paper, needs to be registered, needs to be attestated. These are not compulsory or mandatory, these just make the process easier.
A will makes life easier for the heirs to share the assets when we are not around. The will should state clearly about the persons mental status, list of assets,, who will get what, if the benefactors are minors then the guardian for them. Finally sign it, have at least two witnesses who need not be privy to what is written in it. Finally, each page should have the initials of the person.
You should also remember that if you put the will forward in the legal world, then you are burdened with the task of proving that the will is valid. Lastly, even if this letter is by any chance upheld and it bequeaths the entire wealth of the dead husband to his wife, then she does not have full/absolute claim in the wealth.