My father had executed a will in my favour stating, inter alia, that if any movable or immovable property and any liability that may be found anywhere shall belong to me and authorized me to settle and appropriate the same and got it registered with a sub-registrar in a union territory (UT). However, he forgot to appoint a nominee for shares of a few companies held by him in physical form and didn’t mention in the will too. For his shares in demat form, he made me a nominee and mentioned my ownership on these in the will. During the transmission process, a company has asked for a probate of will or no-objection from the legal heirs and is not ready to listen to my explanation that in the UT, where the will has been executed and registered, there’s no legal requirement of getting it probated. Since the value of shares is under Rs 50,000, is the company justified in asking for these documents. How can I get these transmitted in my favour?
It appears from your query that while your father has specifically bequeathed the shares that were held by him in de-materialized form to you, he has not specifically bequeathed to you the shares that were held by him in physical form.
If your father’s will contains a residuary clause (i.e. a clause that deals with all his left-over property other than that which has been specifically bequeathed to identified or named persons), the said physical shares will be transmitted in accordance with what has been stated in the residuary clause.
In the eventuality that the residuary clause states that the residue of the property (i.e the property that has not been specifically mentioned and bequeathed in the will) is to be divided equally among all the heirs or in a particular ratio or is bequeathed to another legatee, then the said physical shares will have to be dealt with in that particular manner. If the residuary clause states that the residue of the property is to be bequeathed to you, you shall be entitled to the said shares which are in physical form.
The company is asking for a probate of the will or a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the legal heirs of your father to ascertain that other legal heirs of your father are not entitled to the said physical shares and as a precaution to protect the company against any future claims (in particular, in the eventuality that the residuary clause does not solely entitle you to inherit the residue of the property). A person wishing to challenge the grant of a probate may do so once a probate petition has been made in the appropriate court and the court may, if it thinks fit, convert the petition into a suit.
It may be noted that it would be easier and a shorter process for you to obtain a NOC from other legal heirs of your father and you would not be required to pay any court fees for the same.
Shabnum Kajiji, Partner, Wadia Ghandy & Co. Advocates, Solicitors and Notaries
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