The Supreme Court recently addressed two important points in relation to family settlements – primarily, whether a married woman's heirs from her father's side can be considered 'family' for the purpose of a family settlement. This judgment follows a line of recent judgments which are pro-women's rights in terms of inheriting and disposing of family property.
Over the past decade, there has been a renaissance of private trusts which act as holding entities for private family wealth or provide employee benefits. More recently, their use has extended to business and investment vehicles. Many of these trusts hold immense wealth for the ultimate benefit of family members, employees or investors. As a result, enormous responsibility is reposed on the trustees. This responsibility is accompanied by a host of legal duties, of which potential trustees should be mindful.
The complex nature of estate and succession planning requires the careful assessment of myriad factors. However, when determining the costs associated with planning, an often-overlooked factor is the court fees which may be payable when a succession plan is set into motion. If these are not evaluated at the outset, court fees might come as a shock to heirs seeking to implement the succession plan of a deceased family member.
The validation and interpretation of a will is rather unique with respect to the significance of the surrounding circumstances and the identity and status of the parties involved. As such, it is advisable to not only prepare a will that is clear and legally valid, but also ensure that suitable safeguards have been implemented to fortify it against any anticipated challenge. This article discusses the legal grounds on which a will may be challenged and some of the precautions that testators can take to help validate their will.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased interest in succession planning, including through wills. However, there are considerable practical and legal challenges to consider when making a will while social distancing, isolation or quarantine measures are in place. Although no solution is foolproof, there are some measures that may help testators to overcome the various complications associated with creating a will.
Trusts are internationally recognised as favoured vehicles for estate and succession planning. Although most private asset-holding trusts are lifetime trusts created under inter vivos documents such as a trust deed, testamentary trusts (also known as 'will trusts' in certain jurisdictions) are formed through testamentary instruments such as a will and take effect only on demise.
Over the past year, Indian private client law took a number of small steps which were potentially giant leaps for the legal regime. That is to say, although no noteworthy legislation was enacted, a number of amendments and rules were introduced to existing laws which mark a significant shift in the legal position. This article examines three key legal developments which took place in the Indian private client space in 2019 and the main trends expected in 2020.
Indian succession laws are manifold and complex. As such, an estate and succession plan should be devised for a person of Indian origin or with any Indian connection only once the applicable succession rules have been determined. This article discusses specific concepts of succession laws and provides a takeaway toolkit for practitioners faced with an estate with an Indian connection.
The Indian diaspora is one of the largest in the world, with more than 30 million people of Indian origin living outside the country. Many of these people retain some connection with India through their nationality or ownership of assets, especially real estate. Consequently, global estate and succession planning invariably involves elements of Indian succession law. Indian succession rules are complex and multi-layered and may confound offshore practitioners who encounter estates with an Indian connection.
Following the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, India has introduced a statutory requirement for the identification and disclosure of significant beneficial owners, whether Indian or foreign, of every company incorporated in India. This is a landmark development which will lead to a significant push towards transparency.