Effects of Family Disputes on the Partition of Property in India

Effects of Family Disputes on the Partition of Property in India

Family disputes can lead to a forced partition. Partition of property takes place when there is joint ownership of two or more persons in property, and each of them wants to have a separate share. Partition of property comes with financial and legal implications.

The partition of property in India is governed by Partition Act and Personal laws of inheritance.

Effects of Partition:

  • Once the partition is effected, joint ownership is terminated, and each co-owner becomes the absolute owner of his share and is free to deal with it.
  • When shares of all co-owners are severed, it is partition. When one co-owner is separated, and others continue as joint, it is separation of shares.
  • It involves the transfer and surrender of rights in the property.
  • The property gets divided or is sold, and the proceeds are distributed.

Ancestral or Self Acquired Property:

The property can be ancestral property or self-acquired. Self-acquired property cannot be partitioned during the lifetime of the person who acquired it.

A partition can be effected at the instance of any one of the co-owner and consent of all is not required.

Share of each co-owner:

Share of the co-owners if not defined, needs to be ascertained during partition so that each gets the appropriate share. It is always better to take expert legal assistance to avoid unnecessary disputes.

Family Disputes and Partition:

Family disputes arise more often in case of joint family property. Partition of joint family property can be effected by:

  • Amicable Settlement
  • Forced Settlement – By Arbitration /by court

Amicable Settlement:

Family arrangement – The family arrangement can be done amicably. The members negotiate and settle for their share as per mutually agreed terms and conditions. The family arrangement can be oral or written.

If the family arrangement is only a record of what has been settled, it may be reduced in writing and need not be registered. However, if the document is to be used as an evidence of settlement, then the document is registered.  A partition deed can be executed when the partition takes place with mutual consent.  The partition deed clearly defines the share of each co-owner. The deed is registered, and stamp duty is paid.

Forced Settlement:

Filing a partition suit –If there is a dispute and no amicable solution is there, partition suit is filed, and settlement is arrived at through intervention of the court. The court may physically divide the property, or distribute the sale proceeds of the property.

Court proceedings are time-consuming and at times, a drain on resources. It is better to settle the disputes amicably out of court.

Share of each co-owner is assessed, either with mutual consent or the court appoints a local commissioner for ascertaining the respective shares.

Partition by Arbitration:

An arbitrator is appointed by all the members of the joint family to decide their share and divide the property accordingly.

Partition in case of HUF

Hindu Undivided Family is a concept where all the members are a lineal descendant of a common ancestor. All have equal right in the property. People go for HUF status to avail tax benefits. There is a presumption in case of HUF that assets of HUF are joint property unless the contrary is proved. Only coparceners, i.e. members limited to four generations can seek partition. Daughters married or unmarried can also be coparceners. When partition takes place, all assets are equally divided among all the members.   

Filing partition of property with joint owners in your absence can become a nightmare, Beware!

Filing partition of property with joint owners in your absence can become a nightmare Beware

Life is very hard for some people. When a person goes through a lot of financial hardships, getting a property worth crore of rupees is nothing less than bliss.

Can we imagine cases, where people are not even aware that they are being duped by their own siblings or close relatives ?

We were approached by a person who had gone abroad many years ago. After the demise of his father, he and his mother had faced a lot of hardships in life. Their relatives informed them they have some property in India and they are filing the partition of the same to give them their share. They were happy to hear the news and gave the power of attorneys to do all the partitions on their behalf.

Since they never been to India from a long time so they had no idea about the actual value of the land and property. They were shown a rosy picture by their relatives and they fell into the trap. Anyhow somebody told them about our firm and they came for a free legal consultation just to check on whatever they are being told by their relatives is correct or not.

Our team did all the appropriate research work. We carried massive search to inquire if any joint ownership existed in the client’s father’s name. We ultimately got the success. The property was found. Partition was done among the co-owners and shares were transferred to legal heirs but to our shock the whole partition was biased. Their relatives took all the expensive chunks to themselves and gave them the least valued portions.

We immediately took the actions and devolved all the partition their relatives had done. It was a massive work that our team did by making several applications and explaining the ill intentions their relatives had. After that, we filed the new partition where everybody got the fair share of the land and property.  The family received their rightful share worth crores of rupees.

How do you approach partition of joint property?

Immovable Property is generally owned jointly. Joint property means a property where more than one party is the owner of the property.

Arising of disputes is inevitable in such properties. Partition is a solution. It is a division of property as per the share of each co-owner. Partition of joint property can take place by:

  • mutual understanding among co-owners
  • demanding one’s share

For partition, we need to know our share in the joint property. Share can exist due to inheritance or through some title document (sale deed, will etc). In the absence of clear title, other documents like land records, tax receipts, survey documents, help to prove a title.

What about certified copies of the documents related to property?

If a party has no document available with him, he can file for inspection of documents in the Registration Office where the property is located and get the certified copies of certain documents.

  • Shares in joint property:

Till the time property is joint, shares of co-owners are undivided. After partition, each co-owner gets a share in the joint property as per his entitlement according to the law.  Law of inheritance is also applicable when partition takes place. Each co-owner becomes the absolute owner of his property (share). He is free to dispose of the property.

  • Partition deed for smooth partition:

A partition deed, drawn in a clear and unambiguous manner, executed on a stamp paper is required to be registered at a place where the property is situated.  Names of the parties and their respective shares need to be clearly mentioned. It must carry the date from which the partition will be effective

  • Partition by Family Settlement Agreement:

The partition can take place through a family settlement agreement. It is drawn on the same lines as a partition deed but does not require any registration or stamp duty. It need not necessarily be a written document, can be oral based on mutual understanding.

  • Partition by filing suit in court:

Here, the court determines the share of each person and property is divided accordingly. It is filed in the court which has the jurisdiction in the area where the property is located.

Why do you need expert guidance?

Generally, the partition is not very easy as the shares in the property are not well defined.  A partition deed executed under expert guidance and legal advice helps to sail through such problems.

Family Settlement for Property Disputes – Part II

Family Settlement for Property Disputes – Part II

Irrespective of the social or economic status of families, disputes over property are common. Most people prefer rushing to court rather than making efforts to solve these issues in amicable manners. Family settlement on the property is more advisable and definitely a better way to resolve these issues.

Read: Family settlement for property disputes in India – Part I

This process involves a logical and peaceful adjustment that members of a family make so that they may avoid court cases. This could be related to both property and movable assets.

How does the Legal settlement on property in India work?

  • Now, before a case is filed in court for property partition, a legal notice has to be sent to the other co-owners of the property regarding family property partition/settlement.
  • The statutory notice for partition action must declare the shares of each co-owner, complete details of the property in dispute and the requisite action required to be taken.
  • If there is no reply from the co-owners or the response is insufficient, legal notice or a partition suit can be filed in the court.
  • A partition case is filed when none of the co-owners agrees to the terms and conditions of property partition, and one or more co-owners wish to distribute the property as per their shares.
  • A suit for partition is filed in that court which has jurisdiction over that area where the property is.
  • The court first decides whether the person who has filed the partition suit has a rightful claim in the property or not.
  • When the share is confirmed, no additional inquiry is required and the court then assigns individual ownership of the property to the rightful owners.
  • If the property fails to be distributed on the partition suit, the court can call for interrogation and give a preliminary decision for electing a commissioner who will then assess the property and submit a report.
  • The court after that decides the share of each co-owner by the given report and divides the property as per the share of each co-owner.

What are the legal requirements of family settlement on property?

  • Few legal formalities must be performed to ensure that the agreement is valid.
  • The settlement document has to have signatures of all the family members.
  • A single signature missing can become ground for disputing the document in court at a later date.
  • The document can be attested by two witnesses, though it is not mandatory.
  • The next step is to register the agreement.
  • The Indian Registration Act, Section- 17 a family settlement that implies to assign immovable property must be mandatorily registered, or the deed would be invalid.
  • Stamp duty applies to such deeds, and the amount would depend on the value of the property involved.

Role of civil lawyers during property dispute and partition in India

Role of civil lawyers during property dispute and partition in India

According to some civil lawyers property dispute is a common practice in India during the partition of property.

Every household, unfortunately, goes through some or the other property dispute during partition.

Sometimes back we were approached by Mr Vikas regarding a property issue with his brother while partition. Mr Vikas lives abroad while his brother lived in India. Mr Vikas’s brother kept all the good share of land and property to himself and gave all low-value land to Mr Vikas.

The plight of Mr Vikas was genuine, and therefore we took up the case. First, as property lawyers, we had to devolve all the partition done by the brother and then again file for the fresh partition plea.

We did a fresh and complete calculation and evaluation of the property keeping in mind Mr Vikas’s interest on the forefront.

And eventually, we succeeded in making a fair partition where everybody got the equal shares as per their respective rights.

Because property issue is common and the toughest to resolve in India and everywhere else we must be aware and informed of few things:-

What counts as property dispute?

Illegal possession of property:  When there is disagreement regarding the ownership of the property and it is alleged that a property is possessed illegally and is not authorized.

Title disputes: When the registration of a property is challenged.

Rental Disputes: When landlords and tenants dispute regarding possession of the property, rent dues, terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

Other common areas of property litigation are:

  • Land Leases including agricultural land
  • Land Acquisition Cases
  • Partition of Property, Disputes resulting from ancestral and self-earned property

Whom to approach in matters of Property Dispute?

Civil Lawyers.

You must find a civil lawyer for full legal assistance in India. They are specialized in a wide range of areas and provide legal advice and handle cases like:-

  • Ownership/rent recovery
  • Reclamation of land or premises from unlawful occupiers
  • Rent and service restoration charges under long leases
  • Site plan clearance services
  • Tenancy cancellation agreements
  • Rent contract and Security Deposit disputes
  • Applications for relief under lengthy contract agreements with builders
  • Boundary disputes
  • Disputes over financial interest/s in property (commercial or family law bases), Mortgage disputes, Property and Banking disputes
  • Misrepresentation and fraud in property cases
  • Planning consent disputes – Change of Land Use Agreements (CLU)

Civil lawyers for Property disputes contest complex property issues and assist clients in the negotiation and legal drafting of personal, commercial and residential property issues.

Thus they have the experience and expertise to provide clients practical legal advice apart from a complete legal representation, based on the client’s need.

Family settlement for property disputes in India

Family settlement for property disputes in India

Introduction to the legal aspects

Wars over wealth/ancestral property have been present forever whether it is low-income households or ultra-rich families. Therefore property disputes are frequent in India. The most normal solution to such conflicts is to drag the matter to courts instead of opting for a simple family settlement. People rarely realise that court cases are a tedious and expensive process and satisfactory resolutions courts rarely guarantee a satisfactory resolution. Therefore it is advisable to always opt for a family settlement on the property.

What is a family settlement?

  • It refers to the adjustment that family members make in order avoid court disputes and amicably divide the family property with shared understanding.
  • The parties must be related to each other and have a right to a share of the said property.
  • The latter is not just limited to real estate, but can also claim his/her right on the movable assets like jewellery or money in bank accounts.

What does partition through family settlement connote?

  • A family settlement agreement is made in the same format of a partition deed.
  • It does not need registration and stamping.
  • It must be signed by all the members of the family voluntarily, without any fraud, coercion or pressure from any family member.
  • It does not necessarily have to be drafted in a written document.
  • It can be executed either by a compromise or by a mutual understanding between the family members.

Why is family settlement better than court settlement?

  • It is better because one can avoid protracted, public and messy court battles.
  • It is also quicker and a more harmonious way to resolve disputes.

What is the Procedure?

  • A family settlement is a peaceful process where a third person, mostly a lawyer or an older family member, helps the family arrive at a jointly peaceful solution to the property dispute.
  • A family settlement can also be a series of documents spelling out the property rights of each of the family members.

What about self-acquired property?

  • A person cannot execute self-acquired property during the lifetime of a person who had acquired it.
  • However, the self-acquired property automatically becomes a part of the ancestral estate on the death of such person. Hence the person can distribute the self-acquired property through his/ her will to any person he wants.

These are the basics of issues related to Family Settlement for Property Disputes – more about this in another article in the coming days.