I am 64 years old and a Hindu. My wife died a few years ago. We did not have any children. I want to leave some of my movable assets for various charitable organizations and some for a religious trust. Can I do so through a will?
In cases where wills are made by Hindus, the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, will apply. Earlier, people other than Parsis, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Muslims, who had a nephew or niece or a nearer relative, could bequeath property for a religious or charitable purpose only if certain conditions were met. However, these provisions of the Act have now been declared unconstitutional and, therefore, will not be enforceable.
Being a Hindu, you can bequeath all or some of your property for a religious or charitable purpose.
I am a Hindu and have drawn up a will where I have made a bequest of certain properties in favour of my daughter and a separate bequest of other properties in favour of my son. What happens to the bequests if either of my children die in my lifetime? Will the entire will be void?
If either of your children die during your lifetime, the bequest made in favour of that child will not take effect, and the properties bequeathed in favour of that child will form part of the residue of your property, unless you had intended that it should go to some other person. Hence this does not amount to the entire will being rendered invalid. Residue is that property which remains after all bequests have been made.
The following illustration will help explain the situation clearly: If A bequeaths 10 shares of X Ltd to his son B, and 10 shares of Y Ltd to his daughter C and B dies during the lifetime of A, then the 10 shares of X Ltd will form part of the residue, but C will continue to be entitled to inherit the 10 shares of Y Ltd on A’s death.
However, if A had said that the 10 shares of X Ltd will go to B, and if B is not alive then to D, and the 10 shares of Y Ltd will go to C and if C is not alive then to E, then in case B dies during the lifetime of A but C is still alive on A’s death, the 10 shares of X Ltd will go to D and will not form part of the residue and the 10 shares of Y Ltd will go to C.
However, under Sharia Law, the position is slightly different. If the person to whom the bequest is to be made dies before the testator, the bequest is rendered invalid only when such person dies without any heirs.
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