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 firstname.lastname@example.org