Hi, I am Dhriti Laddha, Legal Specialist at AasaanWill.
Few days’ back a client called and here is their story.
Rahul and Anjali were college sweethearts and were in a live-in relationship for a long time. It was a Thursday morning of April, 2010, Rahul read in the newspaper that the Supreme Court declared live-in relationships legal. That day, their happiness knew no bounds. Anjali was 6 months pregnant. Certainly, the child born out of wedlock was also declared legitimate. Now, they both were relieved for the future of their child.
Rahul and Anjali began their financial planning, as now they were parents. Rahul Invested in mutual funds and health insurance while Anjali invested in stocks and fixed deposits for long term and they made each other the nominee. Their families knew about their investments.
Last year, in 2021 Rahul came in contact with corona virus and died due to oxygen deficiency. Anjali was devastated. After a few days, Anjali went to claim the money invested in mutual funds and health insurance but it was declined. Anjali could not understand the reasons as to why she was not granted the claims, as she was the nominee.
When Anjali returned home, she received a notice from Rahul’s family claiming to be the beneficiaries of his assets.
3 Reasons Cited In The Notice That Disallowed Anjali From Inheriting The Assets
- She was not married to Rahul under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, thereby, she is not his lawful wife, hence not entitled to be his legal heir.
- That the child born to them is illegitimate.
- That the nominee is only a trustee of the assets not the ultimate beneficiary, therefore, the assets will be divided among the legal heirs of Rahul.
Anjali contacted me and told me about the whole issue. I advised her to file a suit while giving her realistic expectation on how long it takes for property issues to get resolved.
3 Things That You Should Keep In Mind!
And this is what I wanted to convey to all, especially unmarried and live-in couples. Know these 3 things:
- The Supreme Court has made live-in relationships legal and if the couple lives together long enough, it is assumed that they are married. But the personal laws of our country do not recognise such relationships till date. In this case, as they both were Hindu, Hindu Marriage Act only recognises marriages between a man and a woman as a legitimate relationship between couples. Anjali, thereby, is not entitled to demand her share in Rahul’s property by way of intestate succession under Hindu law.
- The child born to the live-in couple is considered to be a legitimate child under the law and is entitled to the share but only from his Father’s self acquired property. In the above case, Rahul’s child will only be entitled to the share in his property.
- It is a misconception among people that the nominee will be the ultimate beneficiary. Like in the above case, Rahul desired that if he died, the investments should be transferred to Anjali but he forgot that the nominee is only the trustee and under the law, their relationship had no recognition, and after his death his family acquired their rights as legal heirs.
3 Mistakes You Should Not Make
If Rahul would have written the Will making Anjali the beneficiary, she would have been entitled to his property and the future of both the mother and child could have been made secure. Don’t commit these 3 mistakes:
- Assuming that the nominee will be the ultimate beneficiary.
- Not writing a will after acquiring valuable assets because you think that one should write a Will in retirement.
- Measure the uncertainties.
Avoid being Rahul, make a Will today. Write your Will online with AasaanWill. Zaroori Hai!