LAW BOOK

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Su­nil Tyagi

A few years ago, I had pur­chased a plot in the name of my part­ner­ship firm. Only my wife and I are part­ners of this firm. The plot is the only as­set owned by our firm. Can I make a will of this par­tic­u­lar prop­erty in my wife’s favour?

— Vinod Me­hta Yes, you may make a will of your share in the part­ner­ship firm (ie, 50%) in favour of your wife. My sib­lings and I have re­cently ex­e­cuted a mem­o­ran­dum of fam­ily set­tle­ment for dis­tri­bu­tion of an im­mov­able prop­erty that was jointly in­her­ited by us from our mother. What are the stamp duty im­pli­ca­tions on this doc­u­ment?

— Ab­hishek Gupta If the mem­o­ran­dum of fam­ily set­tle­ment in ques­tion merely records an oral set­tle­ment al­ready ar­rived at be­tween the fam­ily mem­bers in the past, then no stamp duty shall be payable on such an in­stru­ment. How­ever, if the in­stru­ment is deemed to be ef­fect­ing a set­tle­ment be­tween the sib­lings, then stamp duty shall be ac­cord­ingly payable un­der the rel­e­vant state stamp act. My par­ents, sib­lings and I had all en­tered into a fam­ily ar­range­ment in 2001. We am­i­ca­bly re­solved all our dis­putes and ar­rived at a set­tle­ment re­gard­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of var­i­ous prop­er­ties held by our fam­ily mem­bers. Af­ter a few years, we de­cided to put down our un­der­stand­ing in writ­ing for the pur­pose of keep­ing it as a record. Is the doc­u­ment valid?

— LK Grover In case the doc­u­ment in ques­tion merely serves to record the fam­ily set­tle­ment which was pre­vi­ously ar­rived at be­tween the par­ties and does not cre­ate any fresh rights and obli­ga­tions of the par­ties, then such a doc­u­ment will not re­quire to be reg­is­tered, and is valid even if un­reg­is­tered. How­ever, whether the doc­u­ment is a set­tle­ment which would re­quire reg­is­tra­tion or is only a record of a past set­tle­ment would de­pend on the na­ture of clauses. The owner of a prop­erty that I have taken on rent wants me to file prop­erty tax for it. Is fil­ing prop­erty tax the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the owner or the ten­ant?

— J L Tha­par Own­er­ship of an im­mov­able prop­erty comes at­tached with the owner’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to make pay­ment of cer­tain dues with re­spect to the prop­erty owned, such as prop­erty tax. It is the owner’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to make com­plete pay­ment of his prop­erty tax on time. How­ever, in case the lease deed ex­e­cuted be­tween you and the lessor con­tains a term that the prop­erty tax is to be paid by you for the du­ra­tion of the lease, then it will be your re­spon­si­bil­ity to make timely pay­ment of prop­erty tax. Last year, I en­tered into a lease for five years, with a lock-in pe­riod of three years. How­ever, the lease deed was not reg­is­tered by the lessor de­spite my re­quests to him to ac­com­pany me to the sub­reg­is­trar’s of­fice. Due to other dis­putes among us, I wish to va­cate the prop­erty soon. Can I va­cate the prop­erty?

— Amit Garg A lease of one year or longer du­ra­tion, such as in your case, is re­quired to be com­pul­so­rily reg­is­tered. If not duly stamped and reg­is­tered, such a lease will amount to month-to-month ten­ancy. Cur­rently, yours is a case of month-to-month ten­ancy, where both par­ties have the right to ter­mi­nate such an ar­range­ment any time. The au­thor is a se­nior part­ner at Zeus Law, a cor­po­rate com­mer­cial law firm. One of its ar­eas of spe­cial­i­sa­tion is real es­tate trans­ac­tional and lit­i­ga­tion work. If you have any queries, email us at ht­es­tates@hin­dus­tan­times. com or ht@zeus.firm.in

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