Can I bequeath property to my son after my wife’s life?

I own a bungalow in Mumbai which I want to pass down to my son. However, I want my wife to reside there for her lifetime and not sell it. Will this be possible?

— Name withheld upon request

Yes, it is legally possible. He can create a will and leave the bungalow to his son, while creating a life interest in the same property to his wife. You can create these provisions in a duly executed will, as a result of his death, although ownership of the bungalow will pass to his son, his wife will have the right to reside in the bungalow for her entire life. However, your wife will not have the right to sell, transfer and/or create any third party right to the bungalow and her right will be limited solely to the extent that she resides in the bungalow. Likewise, although your son will be the owner of the bungalow, he will not be able to sell, transfer and / or create any third-party rights in the bungalow. This is commonly done because people want to create a life interest in favor of their spouse and create a property interest in favor of their children.

I am a 33 year old Indian man> My wife and I want to know who will be the guardian of our youngest son in case of my sudden death. Also, can we name a guardian for my child in the unlikely event that we die?

— Name withheld upon request

Pursuant to the provisions of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 (“Guardianship Act”), in the case of a minor child, the father is the natural guardian and after the death of the father, the mother is the natural guardian However, the custody of a minor who has not reached 5 (five) years of age is normally with the mother. You, as an Indian parent, are under the Guardianship Act, entitled to appoint a legal guardian for your child under his last will and testament. However, this will have no effect if you die before your wife, since in that case your wife will become the guardian of your child. But if your wife dies without naming anyone as guardian under her will, then the rule of thumb will prevail. guardian designated by you. In any case, it is recommended that you and your wife in your respective last wills designate a common guardian for your child, it can be your brother(s) or your wife’s brother(s), who know that They will take care of your child. that you and your wife specifically consult a lawyer specializing in this field and seek appropriate legal advice.

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Hemang Parekh, Partner and Mitali Naik, Associate Partner, DSK Legal.

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