When someone close to you dies, especially a family member, something that can add on to your misery is the whole procedure of sorting out financial assets and liabilities. Dealing with the paperwork and documentation gets confusing, for those already dealing with the loss. There are some essential procedures that need to be followed to avoid compliance and other legal issues impending smooth transfer of assets. So, here’s a check list!
The first and the most important documentation that is needed to permit transference of inheritance is a WILL. A Will needs to clearly state and describe the assets, and the share of each beneficiary. While tangible assets are the most common ones, the intangible assets such as copyrights and trademarks, and other intellectual properties can also be transferred through a Will. Registering a Will is as important as creating one, such that the terms and conditions mentioned in the Will are enforceable by law. For example, an ancestral property cannot be passed on to a different beneficiary other, because the right to a share in ancestral property accrues by birth only. After the death of the owner, the Will is probated by the legal heir, while the court will send notices to other claimants as well. (A probate is copy of the Will that is certified under the seal of a court of a competent jurisdiction and is conclusive of evidence of the validity of the Will.) What if there is no Will at all? Well, in that case the inheritance will be based on the applicable laws- the legal heir has to obtain a Succession Certificate and the procedure thereafter is long and exhausting.
What else apart from the Will? The legal heir needs a death certificate to start with, also it is compulsory to register the death within a specified period of time, and if failed to do so, there maybe be charges and additional paperwork. Probate or Succession Certificate is another document that has to be submitted along with the claims form provided by the organization. Also, copies of document that establish ownership should be provided with an ID and other proof of the person in whose name the assets are to be transferred.
The other side to claiming assets and closing accounts is handling taxes, loans and other liabilities. The legal heirs are obliged to pay off the debts, and this obligation rests on the proportion of shares inherited by them. There may be other loose ends to closure, such as agreements and business partnerships that have to be dealt with. It is best to consult a local lawyer in this regard.
A few simple safeguards taken early on can save a lot of hassle!