I was brought up by my aunt (the sister of my father). She was a Government employee who had availed loan from her department to construct a house. The loan is repaid in full from her salary. Out of her love and affection; she has bequeathed her house to me by will, which is registered. She has two sons who have abandoned her and I am looking after her. My husband wants to add another floor to the said house for which my aunt has orally consented. Please advise; whether her sons can claim their shares in the house which is bequeathed to me? Whether my husband can add another floor to the existing house?
- by Padmavathy, Bangalore
If the will made by your aunt is out of her free will, without undue influence and in a good frame of mind, the will is legally valid. Further the house, which is bequeathed to you, is self earned property of your aunt, who is at liberty to deal with the property as she likes. Her legal heirs, including her sons, cannot claim any share in the said property.
But a word of caution is necessary. The will be operative only after the death of your aunt and she may rewrite, change the will any time during her life time. So it would be advisable to postpone the addition of another floor, until the property is legally transferred to you. Alternatively your aunt may gift the house to you, retaining the right of residence until her death and you may permit your husband to add another floor. But your husband will not be entitled to any tax benefits since the land, property stands in your name. Better if you gift the undivided share of the land to your husband so that he can construct another floor and avail of tax benefits.