Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Beneficiaries of Will should not be attesting witnesses

Attesting witnesses must sign your Will in your presence and in the presence of each other

I own two houses in Mysore. My sister and I inherited one house from my parents, while I have bought the other one with my own savings. Can I pass both my share of the inherited house and the self-bought house to my children?

—Sanjeev Pillai

I am assuming that you are a Hindu and that accordingly, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 would apply to you. I have also assumed that you and your sister have each inherited an equal share in the house as co-owners and, therefore, on the death of one of you, the property would not vest in the survivor but would vest in the deceased co-owners heir(s).

As per Section 30 of the Act, a Hindu may dispose of by a Will or other testamentary disposition, any property which is capable of being disposed of by him, in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 or any other law for the time being in force for Hindus. Therefore, you can bequeath your rights in your self-acquired house and your share in the house inherited by you from your parents, to your children, in such shares as you deem fit, through your Will. Your Will should be executed in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

For this purpose, your Will should be executed by you in the presence of two witnesses competent to contract and your attesting witnesses must attest (i.e. sign) your Will as your attesting witnesses, in your presence and in the presence of each other, after they have seen you executing the Will. Beneficiaries under your Will should not be attesting witnesses of your Will.

Can a person be a karta of two Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs)?

—Madhu Mittal

Yes, a person can be a karta of two HUFs. By way of example, if one HUF (HUF 1) consisted of the father (being the karta of HUF1), his wife and children and a second HUF (HUF 2) consisted of the eldest child being the son of the karta of HUF1 (such son being the karta of HUF 2), the son’s wife and children, then on the demise of the karta of HUF1, his eldest son (being the karta of HUF 2) would also be the karta of HUF 1 (since he is the eldest co-parcener in the family).

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Marylou Bilawala is partner, Wadia Ghandy & Co. Advocates, Solicitors and Notaries. Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com

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