Efficient succession planning is vital to ensure that your hard-earned wealth transfers the right people. This is more significant in the case of immovable property as the legal succession of such assets is not an easy process. Just as, many people living in flats or apartments, are governed by the cooperative laws of their State which provide for the nomination of the house property in case of a death. While a nomination is not the same as the bequeathing a property by Will.
It may be noted that the nomination entirely provides for the transfer of the name in records of the housing society, however it does not make the nominee a full-fledged owner of the property. The legal heirs are the beneficial property owner, and the nominee cannot dispose of the asset for his own benefit. The property law for succession depends on whether the deceased person has executed a Will or not. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 govern Hindus (including Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs). The rest of the entire Indian population comes under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
Succession through a Will
Those individuals who come under the jurisdiction of the Hindu Succession Act can give their property to any person, even excluding the relatives, through the execution of a Will. In such cases, it is necessary for the executor of the Will, to obtain probate certification from a court for assets.
Succession without a Will
In case a deceased owner of a property does not leave behind a Will, the legal heirs will inherit the assets according to the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. The primary preference is given to Class-I legal heirs, which involve close relatives like spouse, parents, children and their successors. When it comes to them each individual’s shares, sons and daughters, and parents will have equal shares. A spouse also will be entitled to one share. While in case there is more than one surviving spouse, they all will share the one portion they are entitled to. Their successors will get only one share, which the person through whom they are claiming was entitled to.
When a house property has been left without a Will, a female heir from a family whose husband has died is entitled to claim a share and also stay in the house. In case, the husband is alive, the female heir (wife) cannot call for a partition of property. Despite leaving a Will, it’s still crucial for the legal heirs to obtain a succession certificate from the civil court. Succession certificate (SC) is the legal document that authorizes the person or people obtaining it, to represent the deceased individual to collect debts and securities due to him or payable in his name. For obtaining this certificate, an application needs to be made to a magistrate office or a high court.
A Will prevents a lot of difficulties from occurring and also ensures the effective way of passing of property to the right people.