Q: If no executor is named in a will, does it become invalid? If not, can any of the beneficiaries volunteer to become the executor?
Pradip Kumar Bhattacharjee, Calcutta
A: The validity of a will is not affected if no executor is appointed. In that case, the beneficiaries may apply for letters of administration before the appropriate court as per the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, and prove the will.
Q:For the past five years, I have been living in a house that I built on leasehold land by virtue of a power of attorney from the person who got the leasehold in 1989. I have been paying all the municipal taxes and other statutory dues on his behalf. Recently, someone warned me that the authorities may cancel the allotment or may serve a notice to take possession of the building. How can I safeguard my interests?
Shyamal Bannerjee, Calcutta
A: A power of attorney cannot transfer or pass the rights, title or interest in a property. A power of attorney lapses on the demise of the person making it. The property being leasehold, certain restrictions may be imposed on it. Restrictions regarding transfer of rights in the property by way of sub lease or gift are generally mentioned in the lease deed. If you are not an heir of the lessee, there is not much you can do except request the leaseholder to execute a registered will in your favour. You could also ask his legal heirs to affirm by affidavit that they are aware of your possession of the property and have no objection to it. Despite all this, you may face problems in future.
Q:My widowed sister, who is childless, owns a flat in a housing co-operative society in Calcutta. She has written to the secretary of the society naming my adult daughter as her nominee. Is this written declaration of nomination sufficient for the transfer of ownership of the flat in favour of my daughter and subsequent mutation after the demise of my sister? If not, what steps should be taken?
Jagdish Lohar, via email
A: If the nomination has been made in accordance with the formalities under the West Bengal Co-operative Societies Rules, 1987, it will hold good for the future transfer of the flat in your daughter’s favour. This is provided she is eligible for membership as per the co-operative’s laws.