Important points to keep in mind while making a will

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October 18, 2017
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While making a will, proper succession planning is very important to ensure that the assets that you own, including any homeownership, are properly inherited by the people to whom you want these to be passed on to.

With regard to real estate owned by housing societies, it is generally assumed that the nomination will ensure that ownership is passed on to the person who is named as a nominee in the records of the society. That is not true.

Rights of nominees VS legal heirs

A nominee is only a person whose name may be registered as the owner in the records of the society, after the death of the owner. All legal heirs of the deceased, however, are entitled to their respective shares in the property thus nominated and transferred to the name of the nominee. Experts therefore, suggest that only a reasonable will can ensure ownership is passed on to the people whom you want, should own it.

If only one person is mentioned in the will, she should have no problem inheriting the property, unless the will itself is challenged by the other legal heirs. This had happened in the case of Mrs Priyamvada Birla, where she had inherited her entire property of approximately Rs 5,000 to her chartered accountant, RS Lodha, to the exclusion of her legal heirs.

Inheritance, if there are several properties while making a will

Problems can also occur when the person making a will has more than one property and does not specify the property to which each one is entitled. In the case of several properties, the testator should clearly specify which property is inherited by whom to the exclusion of others.

Problems can also occur when a single property is shared with more than one person.

If a single property is bequeathed to more than one person in certain proportions, such as a multi-storeyed building, the testator should indicate which part of the building should go to whom. As far as possible, the testator should adequately describe the proportion of each person to the exclusion of others while making a will. This is even more important if the property in question is used by the family for their residence, as it may not be possible to settle the dispute by selling the property and sharing the proceeds. In such cases, the will should also regulate the responsibility for the maintenance of the property and the usual facilities of the building, as well as the payment of taxes to the government authorities.

For old real estate, the FSI can increase on the property. Consequently, the will should clearly mention the beneficiary who is entitled to the additional FSI of the building in order to avoid disputes in this area.

Registration of a Will

A will does not have to be legally registered under the law. However, in order to preserve the interest of the beneficiaries under the will, it is always advisable to have it registered. This minimizes the likelihood of disputes over the will and ensures that your property is passed on as you intended. While making a will, property owners should seek the help of an experienced lawyer to prepare the will and ensure that various important issues that may lead to disputes in the future are properly addressed in the will.

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