Resolving NRI Property Disputes through Family Settlement

Property and disputes go way back in time. And history tells us that wars have been fought over the property. It will not be an exaggeration to say that, from the very time the concept of property was founded, it has been accompanied by conflicts and disputes. Modern times are no exception, with people ready to go to any length for the property. With an uprise in property lawsuits, it can be assumed that heading to courts seems like the most legit and obvious way to settle those disputes. And while we agree to quite an extent with this, there is a better and less consuming way to settle property disputes – Family Settlement.

What exactly do you mean by Family Settlement?

A family settlement can be defined as a mutual agreement among the family members, who have a rightful claim in the property, on how to distribute the property among themselves. The property in question here need not be limited to just the real estate, but can also include movable assets like jewellery, or cash etc. Family Settlement is usually used for settling disputes regarding the ancestral or joint property of a family. It is a more harmonious and less laborious way to resolve property disputes, by arriving at a consensus. There are quite a chances that a family may not be able to reach a common ground, then there is always the legal way to sort the dispute.

What is the process of Family Settlement?

The family settlement is a conciliation process where a third party, which can be a trusted lawyer or a senior member of the family, act as a mediator in the ongoing family property dispute. They help the family members arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement as a resolve. A family settlement agreement is drafted on the same lines as that of a partition deed. But it is not mandatory to have a single document encompassing shares of all the beneficiaries. Rather, it can be a series of documents, spelling out the rights of each family member individually. Although a registered Family Settlement agreement is valid in the eyes of law, it is not enough to prove the titleship. The beneficiary would have to draw separate transfer documents in addition to the family settlement agreement to establish his right over the property share.

How to make the family settlement agreement legally valid?

Merely arriving at a mutually agreed decision will not make the agreement valid in the eyes of law. Certain legal formalities that must be completed. Firstly, the agreement must be signed by all the members of the family, by their own will and not through coercion or force. The agreement must be signed by two witnesses, although it is not mandatory. The next step to make the family settlement agreement valid is to get it registered. It is obligatory to register the family settlement agreement about the immovable property to make the transfer legally valid. Family Settlement is an easier and better way to resolve family disputes, especially for NRI. A lot of NRI reluctantly let go of their share because of protracted and messy court battles. With Family Settlement, NRI can escape all the mess and cumbersome procedure that a lawsuit ensues. This way, NRI can also maintain a good relationship with their family members that is definitely a morale booster. As legal experts in the field of property disputes, we would advise hiring services of a lawyer for Family Settlement as he/ she will be more aware of the whole procedure and its after-effects.