No, Nomination Does Not Guarantee Ownership

We all have, at some point of time, thought about mortality. A heartbreaking news of demise of someone close or someone known to us forces us to think about the uncertainties of life and the situation our families would face if we are not there.

We take few steps to safeguard our family’s interest like we buy insurance, make nominations and create Estate Plans. While first and second category people are in majority, not many consider the third option.

It is good to make nominations and it is great to have insurance but it is very important to have a Will in place to ensure that your chosen nominee becomes the owner of the asset you wanted him to own, and your family gets to know about the existence of the insurance policy to avail the benefit after your demise. All this can happen through only one document and that is, a Will.

It is essential to note that a nominee does not get absolute title to the property by virtue of the nomination rather he is merely a caretaker or a custodian of the assets he has been nominated in. Thus, nominations do not override the Succession laws which would be applicable in case a person dies without leaving a Will.

The Hon’ble Court in Shakti Yezdani and Anr. vs Jayanand Jayant Salgonkar on 1st December, 2016 made it clear that the legislative intent behind the procedure of nomination is not to provide a third line of succession, but to ensure that the nominee acts a trustee of the property of the deceased until the legal heirs of the deceased take appropriate steps such as obtaining probate of the Will of the deceased or Letters of Administration of the estate of the deceased, to claim their rights over it.

Therefore, while planning your estate, in order to ensure that your assets devolve on the beneficiaries of your choosing and obtain it in a seamless manner, making of a Will needs to be a top priority.

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