oppn parties Nomination, Title, Wills & Succession

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court warns Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future but drops contempt proceedings in the "chor" case
  • In a flip-flop, Vodafone CEO says sorry to the government, sys no plan to exit India
  • Sabarimala case referred to a larger bench as the court says several contentious issues need deeper examination
  • 16 killed as the vehicle they were traveling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jammu
  • Vodafone CEO seeks government relief, saying India operations on the verge of collapse
  • Three teenagers killed in a major accident in Kolkata's New Town area when their Honda City rammed into a road divider and a Metro pillar. The car was mangled
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad not to publicly 'celebrate' Babri Masjid demolition day this year, all events will be closed door
  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
oppn parties
Nomination, Title, Wills & Succession

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
For a layman, nominating someone to receive funds from any financial asset after one’s death normally means that one has assigned the title of that asset to the nominee. But that is not the legal position. In India, as in common law from which British and hence Indian laws were derived, a nominee is held to be a trustee and not a legatee. Hence, he is supposed to hold the proceeds as a trustee and such proceeds are to be divided among all legal heirs of the deceased as per will or as per succession certificate if the person dies intestate.

This position was reiterated by the Supreme Court in the recent case Indrani Wahi V. Registrar of Cooperative Society and Ors. A deceased father had nominated his married daughter to be made member of the cooperative housing society after his death and be the nominee of his flat there. The apex court, as also the high court before it, clearly stated that mere nomination did not devolve the title of the property to the nominee. While the nominee was entitled to possession of the flat, she could not dispose it off without the express permission of other legal heirs of the deceased.

Hence, when someone wants to devolve title of his assets to his heirs, succession planning is essential. Expert legal advice should be availed of and assets should be demarcated to preferred legal heirs accordingly. If someone else, other than to whom title is to devolve, is nominated in a particular asset the nomination should be changed to avoid complications. It is the duty of everyone to arrange his affairs in such a way as to make his legal heirs split his property in the way he or she intends, without any legal complications.

In India regressive social thinking prevents persons from making a will. This gives rise to legal complications and fighting among heirs that could have been avoided if there was a will. Though awareness and changing social mores mean that more and more people are now making wills, it is something that should be made mandatory for persons over 60 years of age. To avoid costly legal fees, such wills should be in a standardized format and digitalization should be made compulsory. There should be depository, on the lines of NSDL and CDSL that keep record of dematerialized shares, where such wills could be kept. There are many issues relating to the functioning of this system, but that can be addressed by the law commission or even a special committee set up for it. But it is something that deserves to be looked into.