Nomination is not a WILL

Nomination-is-not-a-WILL

If you die intestate (without leaving a WILL document), The Natural law of succession will prevail

The Court in present case once again had to decide between Morality and Law and settled that law prevails. The matter before the court was in relation to Relinquishment of Succession Right when Heirs have separated themselves from Deceased for a long time. The Court had to decide whether Absence of the Will still attracts Hindu Succession Act when Heirs had distanced themselves from the life of Deceased for more than 35 years. The situation became more complicated since deceased considered someone else as her nominee.

In the above-mentioned case, the facts are as follows:

  • A woman was living separately from her Husband and Daughter from past 35 Years and died Intestate.
  • From 35 years, the deceased was living with her sister.
  • Deceased was a Central Government Employee and has selected her sister as her nominee.
  • A succession Certificate issued in favor of Husband and Daughter of Deceased.
  • Sister of Deceased appealed against the above order on the ground that Nomination marked her as the owner.
  • Court relying on settled position of Nomination not amounting to Will stated that in absence of Will irrespective of relationship between deceased and heirs, the property still delves into legal heirs as per Hindu Succession Act in case of Intestate Deaths.

The court in this matter settled the following points

  • Nomination does not itself amounts to a Will or marks nominee as an owner.
  • Irrespective of the relation between Parties, provisions of Hindu Succession Act prevails in absence of Will.

Conclusion

The court in its opinion stated that the prevalence of law since distance does not amounts to Breakage of relationship and can even be there because of various other reasons as Employment. Moreover Nomination in Official Records sometime is done as a token of affection and love rather than with the purpose of making someone as a legal heir.

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Difference between Succession Certificate and Letter of Administration

Succession Certificate and Letter of Administration

The right paper work goes a long way in getting your money to those you love when you are no more to help them out. When you approach a financial institution, bank, Mutual Fund AMC, Demat account, PPF etc. to inherit, they may ask for documents like Succession Certificate or Letter of Administration or Probated copy of the Will to ascertain that you are the legal heir. This may even happen when you have a valid will.

Succession Certificate

In the absence of a will, if there is no survivor amongst the account holders and a no nomination had been done by the holder(s) earlier, a Succession Certificate is to be the primary document through which the heirs can stake a claim to the assets of a deceased relative.  A succession certificate, under the Indian Succession Act, is a document that gives authority to the person who obtains it, to represent the deceased for the purpose of collecting debts and securities due to him or payable in his name. 

  • It 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.
  • The beneficiary has to approach the district or the high court within whose jurisdiction, i.e. legal territory, the assets fall (where the properties of your deceased relative are situated) and file a petition for a succession certificate.
  • The court, after examining the petition, issues a notice to all those concerned. It also issues a notice in a newspaper and specifies a time frame (usually one-and-a-half months) within which anyone who has objections may raise them. If no one contests the notice and the court is satisfied, it passes an order to issue a succession certificate to the petitioner.
  • Once you have the certificate, you are authenticated to distribute the assets to the legal heirs as per the succession laws.
  •  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.

Letter of Administration

Letter of Administration is issued by a competent authority (court) and appoints the Administrator to dispose of the property of a person. It is required when:

  • 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. The application for letter of administration has to contain the following details:

  • The time of the testator’s death
  • That the writing annexed in his last will and testament
  • That it was duly executed
  • The amount of assets which are likely to come to the petitioner’s hands, and
  • The petitioner is the executor named in the will

A Letter of Administration may be granted to one or several people who may apply to the Court. If no one applies, it may be granted to a creditor of the deceased. A Letter of Administration cannot be granted to a minor or a person of unsound mind.