Deaths are inevitable. And while all of us are aware of this stark reality of life, the death of a loved one is probably the most daunting event one has to go through in their lifetime. Dealing with deaths become more difficult for the spouse of the deceased, more so in cases where a woman loses her husband. It is not only emotionally traumatic but puts a financial strain too. In most of the Indian households, including the NRI, it is generally the husband who handles all the property and finances of the house, irrespective of the fact that whether the wife is working or not. Thus, when the husband dies unexpectedly, the wife is left in the lurch as far as the financial and property matters are concerned.
And due to the emotional trauma that she is going through, pays little or no attention to the property matters at the time. While we understand the pain and agony a person might be going through at the death of a life partner, we would advise to take the financial matters in your hand and sooner that it is, better it would be for you and your children. And it will be wiser to take the help of a reputed property lawyer to handle the financial matters rather than the friends or relatives. Not only will he/she be able to guide you through the various legal formalities, there will be lesser chances of being mislead and cheated. This is also applicable in the case of NRI women, who often get caught in the whirlwind of a plethora of unknown information on the death of the husband. In our practising history, we have come across a lot of cases where NRI women weren’t even aware of the property her husband had at their native land.
Although in an ideal situation, the spouses must share the details of their finances, property and other investments with each other but then the world is definitely not an ideal place.If the deceased has left behind a Will, the procedure for probate should be initiated at the earliest. It must be noted that any legal heir can apply for probate and not just the executor, if there is any. In case of the intestate death, the law of natural succession will apply, according to which the deceased’s dependent parents, his widow and his children have the right to inherit his property, both movable and immovable.
In case of NRI, although they are not permitted to buy agricultural land in India, they have the right of inheritance in the agricultural land of their forefathers. As a NRI inheriting the ancestral property of her husband after his death, the widow will require the following documents to get the property transferred on her name;
- A will signed by two witnesses and registered with the sub-registrar’s office.
- Encumbrance certificate, that details all the transactions related with the immovable property.
- Land Record of the property that shows the annual property taxes paid.