My mother wants to bequeath all her property to me. However, my sister and brother want to challenge the same in a court of law. Do they have legal grounds to do so?
We are assuming that your mother, who is a Hindu, would like the property that she owns to vest in you after her demise. Your mother is free to bequeath her property to any person that she wishes. In order to bequeath all the property that your mother owns, she must execute a will, stating her intention that all her property should devolve upon you after her demise. The will must be executed by your mother and attested by two competent witnesses.
It must be noted that beneficiaries under the will can’t attest witnesses to the same. Thus, you cannot be an attesting witness to her will.
As per section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908, a will is not a compulsorily registerable document but for abundant caution, your mother may get it registered. No stamp duty is payable on a will.
Your mother may also request a doctor to be one of the attesting witnesses, who may later testify to her mental condition at the time of execution. She may also annex a medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner, certifying her mental health.
Your sister or your brother may challenge the will in a court of competent jurisdiction but they will have to prove that the same was not executed by your mother while exercising her free will. In other words, they will have to prove that she was coerced into executing the same or that she executed it as a result of a fraud being practised upon her or upon a misrepresentation of fact.
I have inherited an agricultural land which my ancestors got as gift. I want to sell it off. What are the legalities involved?
We are assuming that you are the sole owner of the land. You may sell the said land vide a duly stamped and registered instrument being a sale deed.
It must also be noted that agricultural land can only be sold to persons who are eligible to hold such land and have the prescribed pre-requisites, which differ from state to state. For example, in Maharashtra, the purchaser would be required to be an agriculturist as per the applicable land laws and he will have to produce certain documents as proof of being an agriculturist.
If the land is jointly owned by you along with other family members, they will have to give their no objection for the said sale and/or agree to jointly sell their respective interest in the land and/or be confirming parties to the said sale deed.
The sale deed should be attested by two attesting witnesses and must be duly stamped and registered with the applicable sub-registrar. After execution and registration of the sale deed, the purchaser will have to get his name mutated in the record of rights as the owner of the land.
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