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Business News/ Money / Q&a/  Gifting is done during a person’s lifetime, heirship kicks in only after owner’s death

Gifting is done during a person’s lifetime, heirship kicks in only after owner’s death

If there is no Will, the estate is distributed among the legal heirs according to the laws of succession

Heirship is not equivalent to gifting of property. (Photo: iStock)Premium
Heirship is not equivalent to gifting of property. (Photo: iStock)

I would like to know, as per the Maharashtra Cooperative Society Act, what is the process of transferring shares from the nominee to legal heir if the owner dies intestate? I belong to the Navi Mumbai area and there is a City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) transfer process every time there is a change in ownership of flat. So if my mother’s property is passed on to me in future from the name of the legal nominee, then will the heirship be equivalent to a gift deed? Kindly clarify as the fees are different for regular sale transfers and for gift deed and I am unaware of the registration of legal heirs.

—Shubhra B.

You may note that appointing a nominee is just a mechanism by virtue of which the co-operative housing society knows whom to deal with after the demise of the actual owner regarding the maintenance charges, among other formalities, till the actual transfer or transmission of the property takes place to the legal heirs of the owner. A nominee is only a custodian of the flat and does not automatically become the legal owner after the demise of the actual owner.

If the owner dies intestate or without writing a Will, then his or her personal laws of succession will govern the distribution of the estate. For the purpose of replying to your query, we have assumed that the owner is a married woman governed under the Hindu Succession Act and therefore post her demise, her estate will be distributed between her husband and the children equally.

The heirship is not equivalent to gifting of property. While gifting is a personal act during the lifetime of the owner, an heirship is applicable in case of a demise. If there is no Will, then the applicable intestate laws of succession governing the estate of the deceased become applicable and is distributed to the legal heirs in accordance therewith.

Regarding the process of transfer and the fees relating to the flat by CIDCO, it will have to be understood from CIDCO itself as it is different from a regular transfer.

My grandfather made a Will that had certain conditions. It named my father as the sole owner of a house, which is to be only bequeathed to me upon his demise. My father and I, however, don’t want to own the house anymore. Can we together sell the house? What will be the legal challenges in doing so? Please explain this for the benefit of the prospective buyer also.

—Naman Gupta

We have assumed that your grandfather’s Will provides for a life interest in favour of your father for the house and that you are the ultimate beneficiary for the house. We have further assumed that your grandfather’s Will has not been challenged.

If that is the case and you do not wish to hold the house, you as the seller and your father as the confirming party, who has a life interest in the house, can sell the house.

In the event that such a sale is duly completed, the prospective buyer will hold and own the property in question absolutely, as you would have ruled out any dispute in the future.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates. Send in your queries and views at

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Published: 25 Feb 2020, 01:09 PM IST
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