Q.I have written a will with the help of a lawyer friend. He is advising me to get the will registered. Is it important and mandatory to register a will in India? — D.S.
While it is not mandatory or legally binding to have a will registered, it is advisable to do so. This is because it makes it much easier to prove its authenticity and validity in a court of law in case the will is contested later on. Since it is registered by a government official in the presence of witnesses, and a copy is maintained by the registrar’s office, its veracity can be proven with ease. This simplifies the process of transferring assets to the desired heirs and beneficiaries, and minimises the chances of disputes.Q.I am the karta for my Hindu Undivided Family. I have a son who is still a minor. Can my wife become the karta if I were to pass away before my son attains the age of majority? —Sameer
No, your wife cannot become a karta if you were to pass away while your son is still a minor. Any female, be it wife or daughter-in-law, who has entered the family by way of marriage, cannot become a karta since she will be considered only a member, not a coparcener, in the HUF. She can, however, manage the affairs of the HUF till your son attains the age of majority. She can conduct business and pay taxes on behalf of the family, but cannot borrow or sell any assets of the HUF.
Q.I got married three years ago and stay in a joint family with my husband and in-laws. However, I have not been treated well by my husband or in-laws and have been facing verbal abuse and neglect. Now, my in-laws are threatening to throw me out since the house belongs to them, not to my husband. I want to know if I have any legal right to stake a claim to this property and to live in this shared house. —M. Nerurkar
According to a Supreme Court ruling, if a married woman files a case under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, she will have the right to reside in the house that she has been sharing with her husband or in-laws, irrespective of the ownership of the house. It doesn’t have to belong to the husband or inlaws and can even be a rented property. Hence, your in-laws have no right to evict you from the house. At the same time, however, you have no legal right to stake a claim to such a property.
Q.I am in the process of separating from my husband. Do I have any right to the jewellery I received at the time of my wedding? — Smita
Any jewellery or other gifts received by you at the time of wedding from your parents, in-laws or other relatives will be considered your streedhan and you will have complete right to these in case you decide to separate or seek a divorce.Disclaimer: The responses are based on limited facts provided by the queries. It is advisable to consult a legal practitioner after presenting full facts and documents. Responses should not be considered as legal advice in any manner whatsoever.