Benami Property! ACT BEFORE ITS TOO LATE
Book Your Appointments for Free Legal Advice.
//February

Newsletter February

Working towards your own rights – Issues of Succession Certificate

The government of India is leaving no stone unturned in making the country a transparent and clean economy. With the aim of creating a developed and stable country, the authorities have introduced and have made some changes to rules and regulations that govern us. The changing scenario and the steps taken by the government require us to be up-to-date regarding all the changes. Whether its investment opportunities in India or property matters, it is important to maintain proper legal documentations and keep them up-to-date.

The steps taken by the government have affected both residents and NRIs, the steps taken by the government have affected us all. The authorities have taken particular interest in Property matters. They are keeping an eye on every current as well as checking the past transaction related to the property to stop corruption.

Although it does not affect a person with proper and up-to-date documentation, it is still better to prepare for any problem in the future especially in the case of NRIs.

An NRI should take special precautions. She/he should assemble proper legal documents with the help of a lawyer. One can prepare a will in advance or file a nominee for the property ownership or can even appoint a nominee in all financial accounts like fixed deposits, stocks, saving accounts or mutual funds, etc.

But what can an NRI do in case of death of the related individual without making a will? What are the choices left for an NRI to acquire what rightfully belongs to him? The heir of deceased can face lots of issues, and this raises a need for a solution that can help solve the matter.

An NRI can apply for issuance of ‘Succession Certificate’ or the ‘Letter of Administration’ accordingly, in case the related individual dies without leaving a will (intestate).

  • A ‘Succession Certificate’ is a certificate granted by the court to the legal heirs of the deceased person. It allows the successor to make payments of debts left behind and transfer movable property such as securities, bonds, etc.
  • To obtain the certificate the heir, with the help of an attorney, has to file a petition with the District Judge within whose jurisdiction the property of the deceased person is located, or the dead person resided.
  • The petition must contain the following particulars:
  • The name of the petitioner
  • The date, time and place of death of the deceased
  • Relationship with the deceased person
  • Names and details of all heirs of the deceased person
  • Details of the property of the deceased at the time of death
  • Once the petition is filed with the court, a notice has to be issued in the newspaper.
  • In the notice, one has to specify the term in which anyone with any objection related to the grant of the certificate can do so.
  • In the absence of any objection, the court will issue the ‘Succession Certificate’ to the petitioner.
  • From the date of filing the petition to receiving the certificate, it commonly takes 6 – 8 months.
  • In the case of immovable property, one needs the ‘Letter of Administration.’ It is a document granted by the court that allows the administrator to act as a legal executor i. e. manage and distribute the assets of the deceased person.
  • The administrator of an estate is responsible for collecting the deceased’s assets, paying any debts and then distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
  • After 14 days from the date of death of an intestate, a ‘Letter of Administration’ can be granted.
  • The applicant has to attach the following documents with the application/petition:
  • Death certificate of the deceased
  • Details of the property or residence of dead person
  • The particulars of the family of the deceased and their residential addresses
  • Proof of what capacity the petitioner should be nominated as the successor of the departed
  • Evidence that there is no dispute to his/her claim as a successor
  • Details of any debt related to the assets

Demanding what belongs to you is your right though sometimes it’s difficult to acquire it. For an NRI citizen, often it becomes difficult to claim property, which in a way belongs to him/her, due to the lack of a Will even if all the property related details are well known to him/her.

If he/ she take proper advice and consultation from property expert lawyers before taking any steps, the process of acquiring the property becomes easy. As it is often said, ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ making sure you get the best of advice prior to making any move will, in fact, ease the process for you.

We NRI Legal Service are a network of competent lawyers, who, having years of experience; provide appropriate legal advice for property claims throughout the process. We not only make our clients aware of the essential procedures but also help them with all the legal formalities to make the process free of hassles. Our customers never feel alone because they aren’t ever left alone!


During the loss of a parent or spouse, do remember that the movable assets like bank funds, fixed deposits, shares and other financial assets can be transferred in your name only after you have taken the required Succession Certificate.

Remember:

  • If a person dies without having made a Will, then the Civil Court will grant the Succession Certificate to release the funds and securities of the deceased
  • The SC is meant to establish the legitimacy of the heirs
  • Be careful that you have the following :
    • Time of death of the one who is no more or the Death Certificate as proof.
    • Place of residence of the dead person
    • Details of the family and other kith & kin of the deceased
    • Adequate proof that the assets do not fall under the restrictive cases and are sans disputes

All details of debts or securities


We have had the case of a middle aged woman, Sunita Kashyap from the state of Himachal Pradesh who had to face a lot of stress when her father died without making a Will. While Sunita had been a resident of Leicester for the past thirty years her father had been a resident of the Kangra belt. All his resources from the Apple orchards they possessed were being deposited in his local bank accounts. When he passed away intestate, Sunita had to struggle to get the funds transferred in her name. Not being able to come to India again and again was a major issue. When she finally contacted us, she was hassled and tense. It took her some time to understand that while she was eligible to get the huge amounts in her name, it would take some effort to get the proper documentation done so that the legal procedure could be carried out.
Most people do not realise that even if they are qualified legal heirs, it requires the correct procedure to get all funds released. One needs to keep a record of the time and place of death and make sure that there is no ambiguity about the nature of the property. In Sunita’s case too, the legal experts of our company had to get these documents in order and then submit applications in the civil court in Himachal for provision of the Succession Certificate. There are many such cases that occur and people are left floundering for want of the correct information and proper documentation. It pays to be cautious and act on time to get all your papers in order so that all resources that belong to you might be transferred in time.

We spend a fortune on exotic food items like quinoa, chia seeds, broccoli and Brussels sprouts because we have read a lot about their health benefits. We also respect them because they are fairly expensive and we presume that they must be exceptionally good for health.

Little do we know that many of our local items are a storehouse of nutrients and in many cases are more beneficial than their western counterparts. It is just that enough research has not been conducted on them.

Take the lowly Bathua or Bathu which is looked down upon by many as an unwanted weed. But the wise ones in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have been using it to make saag or raita or a stuffing for the rotis. Its seeds also double up for rice and dal.  According to a study published in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity in 2009, bathua leaves (pigweed) inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, and may be a key antibreast cancer bioagent.

The plant also significantly reduces gastric secretions.  It improves haemoglobin levels, treats intestinal parasites, is a good heart tonic and an excellent source of iron, potassium, calcium and zinc. Its seeds are rich in amino acids, vitamins A and C

Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have relied on bathua seeds to feed his troops during lean times

What irony that many in India try to eradicate its presence with the use of pesticides and herbicides. Thank heavens that such assaults make it more resilient and adaptable.


 

 

If Spring could have an eternal abode, Jampui Hills would figure high on the list of prospective addresses. Pastoral charm studded with original, eye-catching small houses, lends this place its appeal and serenity. Inhabited mainly by the Lushai tribes, the hills get a striking distinct cultural identity by this community of wealthy people. They have neat and clean houses and have them equipped with modern amenities too. English is the primary language, and most of them follow Christianity.

Interestingly, Jampui could very well be known as the Orange Hill Area. Though besides these, these lush green hills also host orchids and tea plantations. The fantastic Orange festival held here in the month of November lends fame to the hill station. This festival attracts both foreign and Indian tourists. Throughout the hills, long desolate paths, Orange trees on both sides and plenty of Orchids all along – all of it further enhanced by the unpolluted air that one can breathe in at any point in time. Green forests and inner peace are a combination that could lure anybody.

Views of the neighbouring hills or the sunrise and sunset could take the breath away for any spectator. Several points on the hills offer appealing views of the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Kanchanpur – Dasda valley. Some hill ranges of Mizoram are also visible from here.

The virgin forests of these hills offer a calm and eco-friendly environment, lavish landscapes and ideal opportunities for developing eco-tourism. Since the population is not much, it adds to the scope of tourism here. The rainy season offers scenes where you could watch floating clouds – these gradually ascend from the bottom of the hills to the top and slowly engulf the entire range in a heavenly fold. Of late, the Sabual village in the Jampui hills has also become home to boating facility.

At different points of time in the year, the hills offer an unusual sight of flowers and fruits. Between October and December, the fruit-laden Orange trees add a spectacular orange colour to the entire range. From March to May, Orchids take over, and other trees bear more varieties of flowers too. In the rains, only clouds dominate, and the entire range is home to various cloud shapes floating around.

There is also the ‘Eden,’ a magnificent hill-top Tourist Lodge in the village of Vangmun. Tourists can stay here – and also get accommodation with the locals who offer paid facilities for visitors.  This also helps visitors understand the life and culture of the Lushai tribes.

Rightly called the permanent seat of spring, Jampui Hills have come to attain a name for the beautiful landscape and an endearing climate.

The natural beauty of the hills combined with the pleasant weather and various species of trees, the exquisite orchids and orange gardens, the hospitable people and rich cultural heritage make these hills an ideal destination for the tourists.

The state of Tripura claims a prominent place in North East India for her natural beauty spots dotted with lush greenery. The luxuriant forests of Jampui, the premier one among the 6 principal hill ranges of Tripura provides a life time’s exhilarating experience for the tourists.

 

By | February 28th, 2017|Newsletter|1 Comment

Get Your Power in Your Hands – The POA and what to watch out for

It is common for us to have clients call us for legal advice because they have been duped because they ended up giving their ‘rights’ in the wrong hands! Most people treat the Power of Attorney as a simple paper just meant to share responsibilities. The reality is much different. Nonita Singh, one of our clients from Sydney, narrated how her distance from her hometown made it difficult for her to keep track of her property affairs. It was natural then that she succumbed to an offer by her cousin who suggested that she hand over a power of attorney to him. What was meant to be a helping hand turned out to be a big drain on her patience and harassment to her. Her fault? Only that unknowingly she ended up giving a blanket General Power of Attorney to her cousin. This resulted invested interests taking over, and to her shock & dismay, she discovered that most of her land had been taken over and was no longer in her name. Betrayed by family and at a dead end about her property, she contacted our office for help regarding her property dispute.

This makes us think – Are people aware of the nuances of the Power of Attorney? It is vital to understand fully what it entails giving the Power of Attorney to another. Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that empowers a specified person to act on behalf of the person executing it and make legal and financial decisions on his/her behalf.

There are two types of POAs

  • General POA: General POA is a document in which you give full authority to another person to act on your behalf for any legal procedure and take financial decisions without any limitations.
  • Special POA: Special POA is a document in which you give restricted or limited authority to another person i.e. to act only on a specific matter or complete a particular or single transaction. Once the transaction is completed, or the matter is solved the POA expires i.e. it becomes null and void.

Legal Powers that can be granted to the Specified Person by the Executor of POA:

  • To execute all bonds, contracts, deeds, notes, mortgages, drafts, money orders, checks, etc.
  • To file, sign all insurance forms, tax returns, and any other documents.
  • To manage, settle, adjust and compromise all the matters of real estate or property.
  • To collect rents, lease, bargain, grant, borrow and mortgage, or sell.
  • To sell any and all bonds, securities or shares of stocks.
  • To enter and perform any agreements, contracts, writing.
  • To make, sign, execute, deliver and acknowledge any agreement or contract.
  • To sue on behalf of the executor of the Power of Attorney.

Execution of Power of Attorney:

  • In the case where NRI is present in India –
  • Step 1: The NRI, with the help of an attorney, will have to get the matter of POA drafted and then typed on stamp paper of appropriate value.
  • Step 2: Then he/she will require visiting the Sub-Registrar’s office with the lawyer and the two witnesses.
  • Step 3: One has to carry photocopy and original copy of POA to the Sub-Registrar’s office and also need to ensure that every person accompanying him/her has their valid identity proof with them.
  • Step 4: Signatures, fingerprints, and photographs will be obtained at the office.
  • Step 5: The POA seeker can collect it on the due date, i.e., after three to five days after the completion of all the formalities, from the office.

 In case the NRI is out of India –

  • Step 1: Before sending the POA document to India the NRIs have to get the document attested at the Indian consulate in their area of residence.

The steps involved in getting the POA attested from the Indian Consulate are:

  • The Power of Attorney document prepared abroad does not require an Indian Stamp paper.
  • The POA terms and conditions can be written on a plain white paper.
  • The NRI should specify all the powers he/she wants to share with the POA holder in the document.
  • He/ she should also explain everything that one wants the document holder to do on his/her behalf.
  • Two copies have to be prepared, and the executor should not sign the document as it has to be in front of the Consular Officer at the time of attestation.
  • The signatures of two witnesses are also required on the POA document.
  • The Documents required at the time attestation in the Indian Consulate are:
  • The POA deed prepared along with the copies
  • The Original Passport and copies of all non-blank pages including the first and last page
  • The copy of proof of Address in the residing country such as a bank statement, utility bill, driving license, etc.
  • Proof of legal status in the residing country such as visa, etc.
  • Two passport size photographs
  • The fees applicable at the time of attestation
  • The witnesses require having proof of identity at the time of signing the POA at the consulate.
  • Step 2: The POA document has to be stamped within three months from the date of receiving the document in India.
  • The stamp duty would be payable accordingly at the time registration of the document in India.
  • At the time of registration of the document, the POA holder will need to give the proof of identity and proof of address along with a witness at the sub-registrar office.
By | February 25th, 2017|Blog, power of attorney|0 Comments

What property lawyers have to say to protect you against builders disputes

One of the most frequent complaints that we receive from NRIs is their property disputes and claims against Builders. Whether it is false claims or unnecessary delays, NRIs often fall prey to the manipulative attitude of the property developers and seek legal advice from our property lawyers.

Our government is trying to create a transparent environment by bringing about certain changes. Black money, Benami Property, and Corruption are few parasites on which our government is focusing on and trying to eradicate them. Along with this, the authorities are seeking to attract investors so as to improve India’s infrastructure.

However, Real Estate remains one of the major sectors where NRIs face issues of corruption and false claims. These could be all kinds of issues related to property such as illegal possession, fake deals, delay in transfer of assets and much more – especially in the case of NRIs.

NRIs mainly face Property Issues in two cases:

  • When they invest in property in India
  • When they sell their assets located in India

When they invest in Property in India:

NRIs invest their money in real estate in India as an investment to earn returns or as security but many times face various challenges. One of the major issues that they face is Non-delivery of Possession on Time or Investing with wrong builders who delay project completion, causing significant financial loss to them. The Property Developers in India try to attract NRIs with fake claims of projects which are backed by false information, photos and videos. They take benefit of the fact that NRIs live overseas and can’t always be there to keep an eye on them and the development.  But the NRI can take precautions on his/her behalf and protect from such fraud builders.

  • Check the track record of the developer such as the projects completed by the builder in the past
  • Delivery of the said project on time
  • Transfer of title of the property without any issue
  • Criminal history of the developer if any
  • Quality of the previously delivered projects
  • Ensure that the seller owns the property and has the right to sell the same.
  • Check if the land falls under village survey or city survey.
  • If the land is under village part make sure it’s not an agricultural land because as per government rules NRIs cannot invest in Agricultural Land, Farmhouses, and Plantation Property.
  • If the land is under city part, the NRIs can invest in residential or commercial property without any hesitation.
  • Before buying the property, the investor should check the approved layout/plan of the concerned property along with the common space available to other buyers. The investment money also includes the cost of the common areas.
  • Sometimes at the time of investing the builder does not ask for the stamp duty and registration. In such a case the NRIs should request a declaration stating these are not applicable.

Once the investor has selected a suitable developer, he/she should with the help of a property lawyer study the agreement properly. It should be ensured that the agreement contains the:

  • delivery date
  • possession date
  • the contract amount
  • regular maintenance fees

Also, it is better to ensure that the development is as per state’s laws and bye-laws. The investor should ask for detailed drawings of structural details, electrical fittings, plumbing, drainage and water supply details for future reference. The investor should ask for Completion Certificate specifying that everything is as per the norms. One needs to ensure that all the signatures involved are proper. But one can use fingerprints to protect themselves from any fraud as it is a foolproof thing. Sometimes even with all the precautions, the NRIs may face the problem of delay in possession of property.

In such a case there is an excellent solution to the problem i.e. The Consumer Court. It has been set up in every state mainly to address the need of the consumers who have been given inadequate services. These are known as fast track courts. Here the NRIs can exercise their rights and hire a legal aid to file an application for the Developers for their wrong doings.

NRIs are not only entitled to receive their refund back but also to get a penalty, litigation cost, full interest, and damages from the developers. The NRI should be ready with following documents before filing the complaint application-

  • The complete record of communication with the builder
  • All the proof of payments made
  • The contract/agreement should be in his/her custody
  • The process of filling the complaint is very swift.

When they sell their assets located in India

Living overseas often restricts the person to travel to India to manage their property. In such a case they face problems of illegal possession, land grabbing, complete loss of assets due to lack of proper documents and much more.

But sometimes they face major issues when try to sell their assets located in India. They face fraud due to the lack of knowledge of their legal rights.

While selling their property, the NRIs should verify all the details of the buyer and take help of the property lawyers. The agreement should be made with the help of an attorney and contain all the information such as buyer’s name, seller’s name, the amount of contract, etc. and special focus should be put on the signatures involved.

By | February 23rd, 2017|Blog, possession of property|0 Comments

Litigations – Avoid it; Get your property documents in order!

There is a strong feeling that over the past few decades, unfortunately, India has become a hub of corruption, frauds, black money and scams. Property disputes are on the rise too. Invariably, people come to us seeking legal advice from our expert litigation lawyers. To curb these, the government is doing everything possible from implementing demonetization to seizing benami properties.

Creating a transparent environment for all the citizens has become a major focus for the present government. In order to achieve this, the Indian government is introducing new rules and exercising new limits related to investments, finance, and property. This step directly or indirectly affects not only the permanent citizens but also the NRIs.

Even with the government trying its best to eradicate corruption, human nature still remains a huge barrier. Due to various reasons, the NRIs tend to depend on their friends and relatives for the management of their properties. Despite strong laws, this dependency often leads to problems such as unauthorized occupancy and even loss of ownership entirely.

Living away from roots is always challenging, and on top of that when NRIs are faced with false allegations in the country to which once they belonged, it becomes tough for them to manage things. Though most of the time these accusations are either baseless or non-existent altogether, it becomes dreadful for the NRIs to visit India and maintain their properties here. Often these false litigations are initiated by the friends, relatives or others. These invalid implications are made to prevent them from coming to India and seizing their property or maintaining its illegal occupancy.

Certain precautionary steps can be taken to avoid all the property issues that NRIs face without any intentional fault such as Updated documents and issue of Specialised Power of Attorney (POA).

Often knowing all the details about the property is not enough. Maintaining proper and appropriate documents required to claim the ownership is necessary. It is imperative for an NRI to possess validated title deed, current updated documents with ground reality of the property to protect themselves from any fraud such as illegal possession or selling off their land or false criminal litigation or transfer of assets.

Maintaining updated property documents can help NRIs prove their innocence and claim their property at any point in time.

The necessary documents include:

  • Clear document stating the description of the property
  • Explicit mention of the area and size
  • Explicit mention of the name
  • Details of the property after the proper evaluation the same

Translation of the documents in the language understood by the NRIs is necessarily required.

These documents should clearly state information about what the NRIs own and possess in India.

For an NRI, it is tough to travel to India from time to time to manage their property and protect themselves from any fraud. Thus, they need a viable solution which is available as Power of Attorney (POA). The POA document is a crucial document which may even be used against us if not made properly or if handed over to the wrong person.

The POA is a legal document which authorizes some other person to act on behalf of the owner (the NRI). There are two types of POA – General POA and Special POA.

  • The General POA gives the authority to act on the NRI’s behalf in all general matters, which also means that the POA holder may even take advantage of the received power.
  • The Special POA is a legal document that authorizes the other person to act on certain matters on the NRI’s behalf. It is a restricted document that limits the action of the POA holder.

Thus, it is beneficial, in fact, essential that NRIs give special POA instead of general POA.

The issuance and hence usage of POAs is a very sensitive matter which should be handled carefully by all NRIs to avoid troubles and confusions later on. Along with it, it is must to keep all the property related documents up-to-date.

By | February 21st, 2017|Blog, Criminal Litigation|0 Comments

Investment Options for NRIs

India is working towards creating a transparent and clean economy. The government is making several changes and introducing new rules and regulations to achieve its goal of becoming an advanced country. The advancement of a country requires a lot of cash flow, and foreign investment is one of the many sources of cash inflow.

Indian government encourages investment in India from abroad. The Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are the direct sources of cash inflow in India. With the passing time, the NRIs have shown a keen interest in parking their funds in Indian Investments. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that can be brought through NRI’s is immense. Therefore, to promote foreign investments, the government has simplified the rules and regulations and provided promising NRI investment options which in a way will help boost the economic growth of our country.

The weak position of Indian Rupee as compared to NRIs residing country currency could be beneficial for them in certain cases. Such as in some cases they can earn more returns from their investments.

As such the NRIs are free to invest in different investment options but the transfer of profit to their residing country is controlled. The rules related to return on investment vary for different investment options.

  • In Repatriation Scheme, the profits earned can be transferred back to their country.
  • In Non-Repatriation Scheme, the profits earned cannot be transferred back to their country.

It is essential for NRIs to open a bank account before investing in India. They can manage their returns or profits with the help of these accounts. The government has allowed three types of accounts that NRIs can open in India. They are:

  • Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) Rupee Account
  • Non-Resident External (NRE) Rupee Account
  • Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) (Bank) Account

The government of India has provided several Investment Options for NRIs to encourage them to invest in India. Some of the investment options offered are as follows:

GOVERNMENT SECURITIES

  • It is a bond or other type of debt obligation that is issued by a government with a promise of payment when the security matures.
  • These are considered a secure investment option.
  • Dated government securities are medium to long-term securities with fixed or floating interest rate.
  • The NRIs can easily buy these securities.
  • They are just required to transfer the funds to their Indian Authorised Dealer Bank account, and the bank on their behalf can purchase/sell the securities as per their advice.
  • The bank will credit the interest earned on the investment in the account.
  • Some of the dated government securities are as follows:
  • National Savings Certificates (NSC)
  • Capital Index Bonds
  • Floating rate government bonds
  • Fixed rate government bonds
  • Zero Coupon Bonds

MUTUAL FUNDS

  • The NRIs can buy units of mutual funds either straight from the issuer or can use online method.
  • The interested NRI is provided with an offer document for reading and understanding the details.
  • After reading, the NRI has to fill a form clarifying the scheme name and number of units of funds he/she wants to buy.
  • The investment in the funds can only be made in Indian rupee as foreign currency is not allowed.

TREASURY BILLS

  • These are short-term (up to one year) borrowing instruments of the Government; it enables the investors to park their surplus funds with less market risk. T-bills are issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at regular intervals.
  • These are released at a discount to face value, but they don’t pay interest.
  • The bills can be bought by participating in the auctions organized by the RBI.
  • At the time of redemption, the investor receives the face value.
  • The NRI can make payments through their Indian accounts.

NON-CONVERTIBLE DEBENTURES (NCD), CONVERTIBLE DEBENTURES (CD), STOCKS

  • An NRI can purchase shares once he/she gets Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) approved from RBI.
  • They can also buy and sell shares on the secondary market.
  • Most of the nationalised banks have got approval to offer PIS services to the NRIs.
  • The scheme does not limit the purchase of the shares, but one can also invest in non-convertible debentures, convertible debentures, equity-linked mutual funds.
  • After opening a PIS account, Online Trading A/c and Demat A/c has to be opened. With the three accounts, the NRI is free to trade shares online.
  • An NRI can only sell his/her share after holding them for at least two days.
  • An NRI shall not exceed 5 percent of the paid-up capital of the company subject to an overall ceiling of 10% of the total paid-up capital of the company.
  • The companies issue debentures to public to raise funds and some of these debentures can be converted into shares at the time of maturity.
  • These are known as Convertible Debentures.
  • The Non-Convertible Debentures cannot be converted into shares when they mature.

PERPETUAL BONDS, EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS (ETF)

  • Perpetual bonds are similar to regular bonds, but without fixed maturity, i.e., they cannot be redeemed.
  • The companies pay fixed interest to the holder of the bonds.
  • The government, banks, etc. who require funds for extended time issues these bonds.
  • NRI’s can purchase Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) by opening an NRI-Trading account and can then trade them online.

MONEY MARKET MUTUAL FUNDS

  • These are short-term debt certificates issued by the government of India just like T-bills.
  • These are secure investments but with very fewer returns.
  • For NRIs the profits earned by these funds are taxable, and the investment money cannot be repatriated to the residing country.
  • The NRI has to inform the bank about the investment plan, and the bank on their behalf seeks permission from the RBI.

REAL ESTATE PROPERTY

  • The NRIs can purchase any domestic or commercial property in India except a farm house or an agricultural land.
  • To buy property they can only make payment from their Indian account.
  • The payment can only be in INR and not in foreign currency.
  • The profit earned on the assets cannot be transferred to their residing country.

COMPANY DEPOSITS

  • The NRIs also have an option of investing in both public and private companies.
  • The organizations are required to confirm a limit from RBI before taking any money from NRIs.
  • After receiving approval from RBI, the company can receive the money directly from the foreign bank or the Indian Account of the NRI.
  • The company has to share details related to money received from the NRI.

BONDS ISSUED BY PUBLIC SECTOR UNDERTAKINGS (PSU)

  • The NRIs can also invest in bonds issued by PSU.
  • They issue bonds when they are in need of funds for expansion or modernization of their business.
  • It is a secure investment option as when Ministry of Finance gives permission to issue the bonds then only they are issued.

With the government providing so many benefits and flexibility in rules of foreign investment the NRIs can take advantage of the opportunity and invest in India without much hassle.

By | February 19th, 2017|Blog, Investment|1 Comment

Legal advice on property matters – Now on FB Live

Seeking legal advice for property matters has become imperative in the changing scenario in the country. India is euphoric on the wave of creating a clean and transparent environment to live in. One of the first steps that the world saw in this context was the Demonetisation process that was carried out in November 2016. In the last few months especially, the Modi government has promised to fight both corruption and black money and is eager to bring an end to benami transactions.

After the attempts to convert the country into a cashless digital economy, the government now seeks to attack the domain of illegal property transactions –specifically, ‘benami property.’ The latest Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act of 2016 modifies the original Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act of 1988 by closing loopholes and imposing stricter penalties including imprisonment up to seven years and fines of almost 25 percent of the market value of the property. The law also provides a complex web of appellate procedures, which, given India’s notoriously slow legal system, almost ensures that the property would not be marketable for some length of time.

“Benami” property transactions are basically those through which land or property is bought in somebody else’s name. These are most often used to find a safe avenue for black money. In a predominantly cash economy like India’s, benami deals are easy to transact and hence very attractive.

There are issues that keep emerging in the context of the description of what could or could not be termed as ‘benami.’ There can be endless debates about these small definition ambiguities but it still doesn’t take away the fact that there is a wave of “clean India” that is going to determine how documents are viewed, assessed and scrutinized.

While the Benami Act does provide for exceptions like the one described above, the point is that it is best to get expert legal advice to ensure that one does not get snared by the law. This is especially important for NRI’s many of whom have legal transactions which are benami in nature and were done simply to beat the excessive regulations and paperwork required to buy property in India.

NRI’s, especially those with OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) or PIO (Person of Indian Origin) cards can be particularly vulnerable when it comes to agricultural land. The Reserve Bank of India permits an NRI, an OCI or a PIO to buy residential and commercial property in India, as we already know. But they are not allowed to purchase agricultural land, plantation land or a farm house in India. They are not even authorized to acquire such property as a gift but can hold such immovable property if acquired by way of inheritance.

The laws and their application can get onerous, and it is best to get the advice of a good NRI legal adviser soon and not to procrastinate. When it comes to legal property matters, things almost never get easier with time. In the meanwhile, it is advised that NRI’s get their paperwork in order, or get help to do so.

It is in your interest that you keep a close check on the documents that are required for your property to stay safe and you not to have any hassle of being subject to scrutiny. Hence, getting the required transfer, mutation, partition, etc. done should be of prime importance. The Benami Act and all other measures being taken in India signal the beginning of a new era for Indian real estate and in the long run, may result in creating institutions that improve transparency and reduce cumbersome paperwork in real estate transactions. In the meantime, NRI’s are advised to get their documentation in order and seek professional legal advice from a competent legal services expert capable of handling NRI property issues.

NRI Legal Services is a company that has been resolving NRI property issues for almost the past two decades. Given the nature of the work we do, we try and bring a refreshed approach every now and then so that our clients gain the maximum in terms of interaction. It is our effort to be easily accessible and approachable for solutions.

On these lines, we have launched not only a web application but are also on our way towards launching FB Live – our determination to reach out to NRIs in a more intensive manner. Now it is easy to access our legal team for all kinds of advice on property matters. In addition, you can contact us anytime, even while on the move and get details about your rights as an NRI and all information related to Transfer of property, making of a Will and getting Property documents in order. These have assumed greater importance now since the government has decided to target all benami property in the coming months. Convenient communication helps us resolve the legal matters in a better manner and spread our presence over a wider range of NRIs.

By | February 8th, 2017|Blog|1 Comment

Stay Safe-Know more about Making a Will

The death of loved ones brings in pain and sorrow, but when one has to also sort out emotionally draining, mentally harassing legal issues that too related to the making of a Will document by the person gone from the world. When Riya Sen lost her father, calling up people to confirm about the property was the last thing on her mind, so she was dumbfounded when she heard from neighbours back home in Calcutta that their family home had been occupied by some people claiming to be relatives.

While Riya had been thinking of getting her father’s property transferred in her name, it got delayed. And now she found herself in a situation where she had to fight the issue of a false Will. The relatives claimed they had a Will document made by her father, declaring the assets to be in their name.

The importance of the Will is often not fully understood –especially in a country like India where it is sometimes almost considered inauspicious to talk about a document related to one’s death. However, people would be doing their family a favour if they realized that making a Will document leaves the family in a better situation.

In an earlier blog, we had shared basic information about the Will document. There are terms that are related to the document; things that need to be understood. We do know that there will be the person who makes it, and the executor and the nominees. Besides the main document, there is also the addendum or the codicil. In making a Will, an addendum is made to add names or other facts.

Sometimes the Will does not name an executor. In such cases, the court can issue a ‘Letter of Administration.’ This and other such facts are explained below:

  • Letter of administration is a certificate that is granted by a court to an administrator authorizing him or her to administer the property of the deceased if the Will has NOT named any executor.
  • Probate is proof that the Will that has been made is valid. It implies that the copy of the Will is given to the executor along with a certificate granted by the court. So the Will copy and the copy of the administration as issued by the court together are known as the Probate. It guarantees the validity of the Will.
  • Execution of the Will can be carried out after the court grants the probate. If there are no objections to the Will, then the Court will grant the Probate. The Will document comes into force only after this.
  • Registration of the Will is necessary with a nominal registration fee. For this, the testator has to be present.
  1. Registration has to be done with a nominal registration fee with the testator being present in the court along with the witnesses.
  2. Just the signature of the Will is fine for the Will to be considered registered.
  3. The registration is substantial legal evidence that the proper parties had appeared before the registering officers and that the officer had attested the Will after ascertaining their identity.
  4. A Will must be proved as validly executed since it is a requirement of the Indian Succession Act.
  5. After a Will gets registered, it is placed in the custody of the Registrar, and therefore it cannot be tampered with, destroyed, mutilated or stolen.
  6. The document is then only to the testator himself or, after his death, to an authorized person who produces the Death Certificate.

 

  • Forms & formalities to make a will are not very rigid. Although the making of a Will document does not require a particular form, it does need to be properly signed and attested.
  • The language of a Will can be any. Technical words need not be used in a Will. The terms used in the Will should be very clear to ensure that the intention of the testator gets reflected in his Will.
  • Stamp Duty is not required to be paid for executing a Will or a Codicil. Also, it is not necessary for the Will to be made on a stamp paper only.
  • Attestation of the Will is required by two witnesses who are supposed to witness the testator making the Will in its final shape. As per Hindu Law, a witness can be a legatee. Under the Parsi and Christian law, a witness cannot be an executor or beneficiary. A Muslim is not bound to get his Will attested if it is in writing.

 

Most importantly, an individual needs to remember while making a Will that there is a separate, exclusive Will required for his Indian property if he is an NRI. If you make a Will in the country of your residence it can be valid for your assets there – for you to be able to either validly pass on your assets to others in India, the document should be framed and based there too.

By | February 4th, 2017|Blog, will|0 Comments

If you care enough you WILL say it

Leave no hassles for your inheritors

A large number of property disputes arise simply because a lot of people avoid making a Will. For the simple want of a clear document specifying the way a person’s assets would be distributed after he is no more, a lot of hassles are faced by the people left behind. This document forms the basis for the just division of property and other assets of the deceased.

Simply stated, a Will is a vital document that any person needs to have to declare how his assets will get divided and distributed after his death. This can be formulated after proper legal advice so that there are no errors in the statement put forth. Making a Will is a method he has of ensuring that his wishes be respected after his death. The absence of a Will can lead to complexities for the family later on. This legal document can prove to be a great help in avoiding conflict for the family after the person’s demise.

If a person tries to write on his own or execute writings that he or she has prepared on his own, it can lead to certain problems during the time of implementation after the death of the person. Post-death, the property of any individual can be distributed in two fundamental ways:

1)    As per the law of natural succession when the situation is ‘intestate’ i:e no Will has been made

2)    Through a Will i:e ‘testamentary.’

There are certain characteristics of the Will document that need to be understood:

  • A Will is a Legal Declaration, meaning that the papers of the Will should be in conformity with the law and also must be executed by an individual who is legally competent to make the Will. More so, it should be signed and attested as required by law. Sound legal advice is needed for making a Will, and the matter can be taken care of by a competent law firm.
  • The Will document relates to the distribution of the property or other assets of the person who is making it.
  • It will come into force only post-death of the Testator. It doesn’t give any right to the inheritor till the person making the Will is no more.
  • It can be revoked any time during the lifetime of the person making it – also called the ‘testator.’

Who can make a Will?

The Indian Succession Act (Section 59) says that any person with a sound mind is capable of making a Will. However, it cannot be done by lunatics & insane individuals and minors i.e. below 18 years of age. It is advisable to make the Will with the advice of a law firm.

The document can be even be made by persons who are deaf or dumb or blind provided they get to know and understand what exactly they are doing by the Will. If an ordinarily insane person makes a document while he is of sound state, it would still be considered a record to be considered. However, an intoxicated or ill person who does not know what he is doing cannot make it.

Other trivia you need to know-

  • Every Will would require an Executor that is, the person authorized to administer the property of the person making the document.
  • The stipulation for the executor can be either in the primary Will document or the Codicil (the addendum, in other words).
  • This addition is written in the context of the Will, explaining, altering or adding to the disposition therein.
  • There are situations where the main testator wants to change the names of the executors or nominees – this can be done by making a codicil in addition to the Will.
  • Like the primary document, the Codicil also needs to be in writing and be signed by the Testator and attested by two witnesses.
  • Contrary to what people assume at times, the Will is not the same as the ‘nomination.’ A nominee only acts as a trustee.
  • Sometimes, the beneficiary and the nominee are the same. This is usually a better situation to have since it prevents disputes.
  • Attestation is vital. Two or more witnesses can attest the document.

Making a Will is crucial and the document is needed for clarity and avoidance of disputes. More on the specifics of the procedure etc. in the following days.

By | February 2nd, 2017|Blog, will|0 Comments
Load More Posts