It’s not a smooth process to inherit your parents’ assets or bank accounts after their demise. In fact, even if your parents have taken care of succession planning, many loopholes are overlooked. For example, parents have nominated their heirs, wrote a WILL, but didn’t register with the assistance of a lawyer. On an average, many families don’t chalk out their estate planning properly. Such an act of ignorance leads to future disputes amongst legal heirs and children.
In this article, we’ll highlight the significant processes and documents which everyone should be aware of and can navigate the way during the time.
How to Transfer Property after the Death of a Parent?
When the owner of the asset(s) expires, it’s appropriate to claim the properties and assets within a few months. During which you’ll realize the gravity of the hassles you need to go through to claim what’s yours. Spoiler: There will be an abundance of paperwork and procedures waiting for you. The general assets one can inherit are bank lockers, post office deposits, real estate properties, life insurance policies, mutual funds, saving bank accounts, stocks and shares and the list goes on.
In order to claim all of the above mentioned rights, you need to go through rigorous verification from banks and other companies. They’ll ensure it’s passed to the entitled person. However, you cannot go to their office and claim the right just by saying “I’m his daughter”. You need proper documents to move forward. On the other hand, if the place of nomination is empty, name is not matching with the alleged heir or the worst, there is no WILL at all, and then the frustration phase initiates.
It might be quite evident for you who should inherit the properties, but the real world believes hard copy evidence only. As a rule, you need to gather all proof and legal documents to ease the process of claiming the assets. You need to fill up several papers and also have to make several rounds to the court, in order to obtain some specific documents. Such an instance can be tiring and disappointing to the family of the deceased.
So, you’ve got an idea of how vital it is to meticulously chalk out succession planning. Even the simple ignorance of not putting a name in the nomination section can create a disaster. It’s a thumb rule to register the WILL through the guidance of a lawyer. Without a doubt, legal battles are not just a talk of the B-town. It’s more frequent and continues for years.
Key Documents to Claim an Asset of your Parent
We’ve basically compiled the protagonist documents which play the driving role in the picture of claiming assets.
This is the first go-to document you need to keep handy. A death certificate is an official registered document which certifies that a person is dead and also informs about the time and date of death. It’s integral information which is crucial during life insurance claims. According to the law of Registration of Births and Deaths of 1969, it’s compulsory to register within 3 weeks of demise. However, if you’re late you need to pay extra changes and fill up extra forms as well.
Death certificate is an immediate requirement by all the companies and institutions (Insurance companies, banks, etc). Consequently, it’s advisable to collect the certificate from Municipal Corporation or Gram Panchayat. As a matter of fact, the cause of death acts as a parameter of how you receive the document. If the cause of death is due to old age, sickness and at home, it’s a quick process. Nevertheless, if it’s an accident or murder, an FIR is required to start the extraction of certificate.
Altogether, it takes considerable time to receive the death certificate. We recommend starting the process sooner.
Claim Application Form
A claim form is the first form you need to start filling when you’re making the claim against any asset. There are different types of claim forms available in different organizations. In fact, no two government banks have the same claim application. Therefore, every time you’ve to make a claim in a post office or in mutual funds companies, you need to fill up separate forms. In general, they have the same questions. You need to validate the relationship with the deceased along with your identity proof.
When you’re transferring the assets to your account, you need to provide legitimate bank details and other required KYC specifications. This kind of case arises when you’re claiming a mutual funds’ portfolio or shares in a demat account.
Probate of WILL
This is the most typical problem in India where one of the parents died without registering a WILL. There are many who write a WILL but don’t consult a lawyer and therefore fail to register the WILL. The direct consequence of not registering a WILL is a question of authenticity. There have been many instances in families where one comes and claims a property with an unregistered WILL and the other party gets to challenge by saying it’s forged. In fact, two parties come with unregistered WILL and claim the other one fake.
In such a scenario, “Probate of WILL” comes to the picture. Probate is the medium to certify that the WILL is not sham, in fact, it’s original and authenticated. In order to answer the question of how to transfer property after the death of a parent with an unregistered WILL, you need to consult a lawyer to apply for Probate. It has high chances that other parties can challenge you here. Therefore, after winning the case, the Probate will have a court seal on your WILL.
This is the rescue document, when there is no name mentioned in the nominee block, your name is absent as nominee, or there is no written WILL at all. Although there is nothing in black and white, you need to claim as the legal heir. In such instances, you need to seek help from the court of law, achieve the succession certificate, which will validate your legality to claim the asset.
To receive the succession certificate, you need to appeal in the court with the help of a lawyer. You need to go to the High Court or District Court wherever the asset falls under whichever jurisdiction. After filing the petition, you will have to provide the required details – relationship proof with the deceased, date of birth and a few more.
Following the submission, the court will put out notice for any objection in the newspaper. However, if none objects, the succession certificate will be granted. Such a process necessitates money, time, and unnecessary disputes with other parties.
A Real Life Example of Property Ownership after the death of Father
In a Hindu family, the father has died. Successors to his property are: his wife, two sons, and one daughter. Now, the eldest son wants to transfer the whole property to his name, yet not ready to take care of his dependent mother. However, the widowed wife wants the property to be equally divided into four parts and distributed among them. The questions are: 1) who has the right to do the partition? and 2) what are the recommended steps to take in such a scenario?
In a situation like this, when someone asks “how to transfer property after death of a parent?”, there can be two ways to do it. Read on.
The division of the property will be easier to conduct if he has left behind a registered WILL. As a consequence of having a legit WILL, the property will be divided and distributed to the listed heirs according to the guidelines of the WILL.
A WILL is a legal document where a person declares his/her wishes pertaining to the distribution of assets and other properties after the demise. With this in mind, the testator (owner of the WILL) appoints an executor who looks after the proper execution of the WILL as it dictates.
However, if the father fails to make a WILL, the distribution of property will be done on the basis of Personal Laws.
Under the Hindu Law, two types of regulations are available based on mode of acquiring. If the land is an ancestral asset, the male lineage will inherit the properties up to four generations, undivided throughout the phase. The father has no right to WILL the land to anyone.
However, if the father has bought the land, he can give a gift or WILL to anyone whereas the legal heir cannot file a case to object to his decisions. Moreover, when the self-acquired land is not willed to a third person, it’ll be equally distributed amongst the heirs of the owner.
Procedure for Property Distribution after the death of Father
It’s essential to clear all outstanding debts before filing any suit. Each and every heir needs to consent to a plan to pay the debts. Otherwise the debts will be cleared out of the property before the division. After the clearance, division can be done by:
SUIT FOR PARTITION – One or all legal heirs can file a case. The court will analyze the legality of entitlement to the properties. Upon finding favorable evidence, a partition deed will be executed to equally divide the property.
FAMILY SETTLEMENT – The legal heirs internally work debate and land on to a mutual agreement for the disputed property.
Suggestion – Address the issue sooner
Property disputes are frequent amongst siblings. Even an ironclad WILL is challenged by the unhappy beneficiaries. Such cases are drags for nasty period of time. Thus, it’s extremely significant to deal with such precarious issues sooner and under the guidance of an experienced property attorney.