Home > Money > Personal Finance > Without a Will, all Class I heirs have a right in their father’s estate

An individual (A) owned a piece of land in Karnataka which he bought in 1956. A had two daughters and one son. Both daughters are married and living with their respective in-laws.The property was sold by the son to a buyer in 1987, who further sold it in 2004. It was sold again in 2006 and then again in 2009 to me. A passed away 1988. In 2013, the daughters claimed their share of the property through a civil suit. Since buying the property, I have converted it by paying the appropriate development fees and got the municipal record transfers done. All this was done before the suit was initiated. Do the married daughters have any claim in the said property?

—Rajiv Jamwal

It appears that the father has purchased the immovable property with his own funds, that us, it was a self-acquired property. Assuming the father expired intestate or without a Will, the daughters (including a married daughter) being Class I heirs, would have a right in their father’s estate, part of which was the subject property.

However, since the property was sold in 1987 by the son, the suit is barred by limitation under the Limitation Act, 1963, unless the daughters prove that the intimation of the sale came much later, making the filing of the suit fall within the limitation period.

You will also have to look into whether the son entered the first sale transaction fraudulently. Any transaction which is executed through a fraud has to be treated as a nullity by every court, whether superior or inferior. It may be challenged in any court even in collateral proceedings.

My father made a sale agreement of our property with a buyer who paid 20% of the total property value up front. But the buyer was unable to pay the rest and the deal was called off. The sale deed was cancelled on 31 January 2019. Now the buyer wants us to return the amount he paid, along with interest. Can I file a case to forfeit the amount?

—Rohan

You have stated that a sale agreement was executed, and thereafter, a cancellation deed was also executed between your father and the buyer for the immovable property. The outcome will depend on the terms of the sale agreement between the seller and the buyer. If the terms of the sale agreement permitted your father to forfeit the entire 20% in the event of the buyer being unable to pay the balance consideration, you may do so without filing a suit.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates. Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com

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