Is there a way to ensure that will is not challenged in court of law?
It is optional to register a will, however, it can be challenged in a court of law if it has errors even if it is registered. Keep in mind that there are 7 grounds on which a will can be challenged.
If the property is in your mother’s name and is self-acquired—bought from her own resources or acquired as part of the division of ancestral/coparcenary property, including that obtained through a legal heir or by any testamentary document like a will or gift deed— she has a right to will it to anybody she wants. If she passes away without a will (intestate), it will be distributed as per the Hindu Succession Act, with priority to Class I legal heirs. If, on the other hand, the property is ancestral, an equal share will accrue by birth to all the descendants.
Yes, a will can be challenged in a court of law if it has errors, even if it is registered (which is optional). It can be challenged on seven grounds: lack of testamentary capacity, lack of testamentary intention, lack of knowledge or approval, undue influence, fraud or forgery, revocation (familial claims), and if it lacks in execution.
You can, however, minimise the probability of it being challenged in court by ensuring that it is duly executed in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
What rights do married daughters have over ancestral and self-acquired property if their father had died before 2005?’ — Deepti Trivedi
The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, was amended in 2005 to give daughters an equal share in parental property, whether they are married or not. In case of an ancestral property, they have a share in it by virtue of birth, whereas in case of a self-acquired property, it is distributed according to the provisions of the will. If the father passes away intestate (without a will), the married daughters have the same rights as the son in both ancestral and self-acquired property. However, it is important to note that if the father has died before 2005, a married daughter will not have any right over ancestral property, while the self-acquired property will be distributed as per the will.
I have been trying to convince my father that we should buy an independent health insurance, but he feels it’s a waste of time and money as all of us are covered by my employer’s insurance. How should I convince him? — Akshay Iyer
The health insurance provided by an employer is the most cost-effective way to cover family members because it is available at subsidised rates. However, if you were to lose your job and there was a medical emergency in the gap period when there is no cover, the entire cost would have to be borne by you. All you have to do to convince your father is to cite the high cost of medical treatment, which can run into lakhs even for a few days of hospitalisation, that the family would have to incur. Besides, you can avail of tax benefit of up to Rs 25,000 for health insurance premium paid for yourself and your family, and up to Rs 50,000 for senior citizens. This can bring down your cost considerably.
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The advice in this column is not from a licensed healthcare professional and should not be construed as psychological counselling, therapy or medical advice. ET Wealth and the writer will not be responsible for the outcome of the suggestions made in the column.