Moneylife Events
How to deal with Wills and intestate succession
Advocate Niraj Punmiya, spoke to a packed audience at a Moneylife Foundation seminar on the processes, rules and laws governing Wills and the processes involved in claiming inheritance or ensuring proper succession
 
“Often when a person dies-intestate, the legal heirs have to decide how to mutually distribute the assets of the deceased. Going to court is the least productive way. Negotiation is better and the courts are best approached only in case of a denial of one’s rights,” says Advocate Niraj Punmiya, a practitioner in the area of income and service tax. He was speaking at Moneylife Foundation on “Dealing with Wills & Intestate Succession”. 
 
Adv Punmiya said, "Looking at how complicated and bureaucratic it is to deal with the legal and government machinery, it is better to have a clear Will to make it easy for those who come after you."
 
Adv Punmiya started by explaining the basics of Wills and terms such as testator, executor, codicil, testamentary guardian; he described nine different types of Wills that are possible, but suggested that a simple Will executed by an individual was better than needless complication and complexity through joint Wills, contingent Wills etc. He pointed out that although a Will does not involve payment of stamp duty nor does it require Registration, it was highly recommended that the Will be registered.
 
Having taken the audience through the intricacies of the types and procedures of Wills, he turned the focus to Nominations and how it is different from a Will. Often, nominees become an important part of the whole story. "Nomination is a Right to receive while the Will is a Right to Own" he said emphatically. A nominee is like an executor, who is entrusted to manage the property or asset as per the nominator's wishes after his death. However, a nominee cannot sell property unless he is a legal heir,” he said. 
 
Adv Punmiya also talked about the several procedures involved in transfer of property or other assets after the death of a nominator. Especially talking about nominations in co-operative housing society, he said, Section 30 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, governs such matters. The Act says, "On the death of a member of a society the society shall transfer the share or interest of the deceased member to a person or persons nominated in accordance with the rules or, If no one has been nominated, to such person as may appear to the committee to be the heir or legal representative of the deceased member."
 
"From interpretation of the above section, it is very clear, on the plain reading of Section 30 that the intention of the Section is to provide for who has to deal with the society on the death of the member and not to create a new rule of succession".
 
Explaining this in details, especially from the society's point of view, he said, "Society has no power, except provisionally and for a limited purpose to determine the disputes about who is the heir, or legal representative. It, therefore, follows that the provisions for transferring a share and interest to a nominee or to the heir or legal representative will be as decided by the society and is only meant to provide for interregnum between the death and the full administration of the estate and not for the purpose of conferring any permanent right of such person to a property forming part of the estate of the deceased."
 
Adv Punmiya then explained succession certificate, probate as well as difference between a Will and a probate. He said, "A succession certificate establishes the authenticity of the heirs and give them the authority to inherit debts, securities and other assets that the deceased may have left behind."
 
Succession certificate can be obtained from district or the High Court within whose jurisdiction, the assets fall, by filing a petition. Apart from the lawyer's fees, the court may levy a fixed percentage of the value (up to 3%) of the estate as fee. Usually, succession certificate takes 3-4 months (sometimes 5-7 months), if it is not contested by anyone. The succession certificate authorises the person to distribute the assets to the legal heirs as per the succession law.
 
"Most people think that if the succession certificate is obtained then the person is the rightful owner of the deceased person's properties, which is not true. A succession certificate allows the person to act exactly similar to how a nominee would act. It gives the authority to the holder for distributing the deceased person's assets. A Succession Certificate is not granted in cases where obtaining a Probate of Letter of Administration is necessary such as when there is a valid will," Adv Punmiya said.
 
Succession certificate can be revoked as per Section 383 of the Indian Succession Act.
 
Talking about probate of a Will, he said, a probate establishes the legal character of the Executor to implement the Will and to the validity of the Will and it can be granted only to the executor appointed by the Will and the appointment may be expressed or implied.
 
A probate is a copy of a will certified by a court of competent jurisdiction. It proves that it is the last and final will of the deceased penned on a particular date. In the absence of a Will or nomination, succession laws come into play, he added.
 
Probate can be obtained from competent court under whose jurisdiction the assets are located, through a petition or application. The court may impose a percentage of assets as a fee to issue a probate. "In Maharashtra, for example, a court fee of Rs25 is payable for assets less than Rs50,000; 4% for assets between Rs50,000-Rs2 lakh, and 7.5% for assets over Rs2 lakh. There is a ceiling of Rs75,000," Adv Punmiya said.
 
If the Will which is required to be probated, under the Act, if not probated, has no legal sanctity and binding force.
 
Explaining the difference between a Will and a probate, Adv Punmiya, said, "A probate is issued by the court, when a person dies testate i.e. having made a will and the executor or beneficiary applies to the court for grant of probate. In case a person has not made a Will, then his legal heirs will have to apply to the court for grant of a succession certificate, which will be given as per applicable laws of inheritance."
 
"If there is no will or a Will does not name any executor then one needs to get the Letter of Administration," he said, adding, "the competent authority appoints the administrator in such cases, to dispose of the property of the deceased person. It is required when the testator has failed to appoint an executor under a Will or where the executor appointed under a Will refuses to act or where executor has died before or after proving the Will but before administration of the estate. A Letter of Administration can be granted after 14 clear days from the date of death of an intestate."
 
"For obtaining a letter of administration the beneficiary has to apply to the court. The court on receiving satisfactory proof of valid execution of the will issues letter of administration to the beneficiary," he added.
 
Adv Punmiya then explained the practical details of distributing assets among the heirs in various ways such as gift deeds, a deed of release or transfer and transmission deeds, which bring finality to transactions without scope for ambiguity or future disputes among beneficiaries. "No sale can take place and no deed of transfer can be executed without payment of consideration. Stamp duty is payable on gift deeds, release deeds and deeds of transfer. These documents have to be stamped in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Stamp Act applicable in the state where the property is situated. Further, as laid down in section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908, gift deeds, release deeds and deeds of transfer are all compulsorily registrable documents. Thus, on execution of any of these deeds, they have to be registered with the office of the sub-registrar of assurances within whose sub-district the whole or some portion of the property is situated, within a period of four months from the date of execution of the said document," he concluded.
 
Download a copy of the important points of this talk and FAQs about Wills, nominations and Succession created by Adv Punmiya himself, here.
 
Also here is the link for a draft Will created by Mr Vimal Punmiya. 

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COMMENTS

SRINIVAS SHENOY

8 months ago

Wonderful and explicit presentation of a will and intestate succession. followed by a Good write up. Thanks.

Amar Wakharkar

8 months ago

Hi, Did you record this session? Any YouTube link is available for this?

RAVI RAM PV

8 months ago

The link takes to a payable site! That the draft Will is to be paid for, should have been explicitly mentioned.

REPLY

MDT

In Reply to RAVI RAM PV 8 months ago

Thanks for your comment. The information provided in the links is free to view and access.
MDT

RAVI RAM PV

8 months ago

Thank you for the info & links!

Dividing Maharashtra: Vidarbha=Serbia, Konkan=Cuba
The gross district domestic product (GDDP) of the five districts that form Amravati region (Rs.51,947 crore), a part of backward Vidarbha, was Maharashtra’s lowest in 2013-14; yet it was more than Jammu and Kashmir (Rs.45,847 crore) in the same year.
 
The GDP of Marathwada (Rs.83,765 crore), a region of eight drought-prone districts, in 2013-14 was more than Uttarakhand (Rs 70,926 crore)
 
With such powerful regional economies - even in its backward areas - Maharashtra is India’s most prosperous state with a gross state domestic product (GSDP) of $148.2 billion (at constant 2004-05 prices), almost equal to that of Pakistan ($150 billion at constant 2005 prices).
 
Yet, Maharashtra’s overall economic power hides vast disparities. It has some of India’s poorest people, four of its 36 districts are among India’s 106 most backward, and some districts, such as rural Thane on the doorstep of rich Mumbai, have areas where 30 percent (in 2009, the last available data) children suffer malnutrition, comparable with Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura (2009 data).
 
So, an old debate over dividing Maharashtra - India’s second most populous state with a population of 112 million-was re-energised last week when senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader M.G. Vaidya said division would make the state more governable.
 
Vaidya supported former Maharashtra advocate general Shrihari Aney, who suggested that the people of Marathwada should get their own state. For those comments, Aney was asked to quit by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
 
Konkan’s economy would be fourth, Marathwada 22nd among states
 
If we arrange the five regions of Maharashtra - Konkan, Pune, Nashik, Marathwada and Vidarbha - along with 28 remaining states of India, Konkan would rank fourth in the list.
 
Our report of the state’s five regions, ranked by prosperity:
 
Konkan Region
 
Area: 30,746 sq km; six districts (Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Palghar)
 
Population: 28.6 million. If it were a state, it would rank 15 (of 28 states) by population, with more people than - among others - Punjab, Haryana, Chattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Rs.373,959 crore ($61.8 billion), accounts for 41 percent of Maharashtra’s GSDP.
 
As a state, Konkan would be richer than West Bengal, Telangana and Rajasthan and rank alongside countries like Cuba and have a GDP more than neighbouring Sri Lanka.
 
Profile: The Konkan region, along the western coast, is Maharashtra’s most populous and prosperous region. The region’s capital, Mumbai - home to India’s financial, banking and entertainment industries - is the state’s richest district. Neighbouring Thane district has one of India’s highest per capita incomes. The region is known for its Alphonso mangoes and costal fisheries.
 
Vidarbha
 
Area: 97,321 sq km; 11 districts across two regions - Amravati (Buldhana, Akola, Washim, Amravati and Yavatmal districts) and Nagpur (Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli)
 
Population: 23 million. If it were a state, it would rank 18 (of 28 states) by population, with more people than - among others - Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
 
GDP: Rs.132,750 crore ($21.9 billion), accounts for 14.8 percent of Maharashtra’s GSDP.
 
As a state, Vidarbha would be poorer than Odisha and Punjab and rank alongside Cameroon, Serbia and Tanzania.
 
Profile: Maharashtra’s eastern region achieved national infamy for suicides, mostly by cotton farmers. Formerly the princely state of Berar, Vidarbha is largely agrarian, with cotton, jowar, soybean and pulses its main farm output. Yavatmal, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur are among India’s most backward districts, large swathes of areas riven by Maoist insurgency.
 
Nashik Region
 
Area: 57,806 sq km; five districts (Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar)
 
Population: 18.5 million. If it were a state, it would rank 19 (of 28 states), with more people than the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
 
GDP: Rs.104,594 crore ($15.7 billion), accounts for 11.6 percent of Maharashtra’s GSDP.
 
As a state, Nashik region would be equivalent to Jharkhand but poorer than Chhattisgarh and rank alongside Botswana and Bolivia.
 
Profile: Nashik Region is known for its agro-processing industries, especially wine. Of 46 wineries in India, 43 are in Maharashtra with 22 of them around Nashik, the main city of Nashik region.
 
Pune Region
 
Area: 57,054 sq km; five districts (Pune, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur)
 
Population: 23.4 million. If it were a state, it would rank 18 (of 28 states) with more people than Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
 
GDDP: Rs.201,700 crore ($33.3 billion), accounts for 22.4 percent of Maharashtra’s GSDP.
 
As a state, Pune Region would be poorer than the new state of Telangana and Kerala and would rank alongside Lebanon and Bulgaria.
 
Profile: The region is known as the sugar belt of Maharashtra; it is the second-largest producer of sugarcane in India and hosts the country’s second-largest sugar-processing capacity.
 
Marathwada
 
Area: 64,590 sq km; eight districts (Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli, Beed, Nanded, Osmanabad and Latur)
 
Population: 18.7 million. If it were a state, it would rank 18 (of 28 states), with more people than Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
 
GDDP: Rs.83,765 crore ($13.8 billion), accounts for 9.3 percent of Maharashtra’s GSDP.
 
As a state, Marathwada would be poorer than Chhattisgarh and Assam, and would rank alongside Bosnia, Afghanistan and Paraguay.
 
Profile: The region is known for its drought, falling as it does in Maharashtra's rain-shadow area. It is the most underdeveloped area in the state after Vidarbha. Marathwada also has the second-highest number of farmers' suicides after Vidarbha.
 
Why smaller states do better
 
Smaller states do better than bigger states, IndiaSpend reported previously, analysing the progress of breakaway states.
 
Carving out smaller states from larger states help better governance because it allows “de-averaging” both the problem and solution, which means allowing administrators to get a true picture of regions instead of an average that hides problems, Nikhil Ojha of Bain and Co, a consultancy, wrote in his Mint column.
 
For instance, Uttarakhand is among India’s top six relatively developed states; its parent state, Uttar Pradesh, among India’s least developed, according to a 2013 panel report by Raghuram Rajan, now the Reserve Bank of India governor.
 
Odisha topped as the least developed state, followed by Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
 
Goa was the most relatively developed state, followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
 
Note: All population figures are from the 2011 census. The GDP figures are for 2013-14, the base year for all economic comparisons.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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India's fastest train to debut on Tuesday
Agra  : India's fastest train, the Gatiman Express, is all set to be launched on Tuesday, opening a new chapter in the history of the Indian Railways.
 
The inaugural run of Gatiman Express from Hazrat Nizammuddin, Delhi, to Agra Cantt. is scheduled for April 5, the Divisional Railway Manager's office said in a statement. 
 
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will inaugurate the train at 10 a.m. by remote from his office. 
 
But its scheduled will be changed, making it to leave Nizammuddin railway station at 8.10 a.m. and reach Agra Cantt. at 9.50 a.m, a run of 100 minutes instead of 90 as initially planned.
 
The train has 12 AC coaches, hostesses in each compartment, free wi-fi facility,automatic doors, and several other facilities to offer a comfortable train journey in specially designed coaches.
 
The train's fare will be more than Shatabadi Express. It will run six days a week except Friday, when the Taj Mahal is closed. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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