Q.: I am an orphan and brought up by my distant relative.  Out of natural love and affection, my distant relative wants to give some immovable properties to me by Will which he want to keep as a secret.  Please clarify whether Will requires to be witnessed, or I and my witness relative could sign as witnesses. 

A.: Two independent witnesses are necessary for execution of a valid Will.  The deed writer, the testator i.e. the person who bequeaths and the beneficiary under the Will cannot be witnesses to the Will. So advise your distant relative to get the Will attested by two independent witnesses.

Q.:  I want to gift some self acquired buildings to my daughter.  Is there any rebate on the stamp duty payable and registration charges?  

 A.:  Government of Karnataka has extended concessions on stamp duty payable on gift deeds to the family members.  It is s. 1000/- + additional cess of Rs. 50/- .  In case of the properties in the area of city municipality or corporations an additional levy of Rs. 1000/- is collected i.e. in all Rs. 2050/- .  In addition to the stamp duty Rs. 500/- is collected for registration.  Family means in relation to the donor, husband, wife, son, daughter, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

Q.:  I am a building contractor.  One of my clients, a nationalized bank has included a clause of defect liability in the agreement and also refers to guarantee. Please inform what means by defect liability, guarantee and warranty period?

A.: Defect liability period means, the period in which quality of construction is tested/verified.  This period would be generally 6 months including rainy season.  During defect liability period then builder will be liable to rectify any defects noticed in the construction, like seepage of water structural, cracks in the walls. The purchaser will retain a portion of the consideration amount which will be released only after the lapse of defect liability period.

         Guarantee is a contract which is personal in nature between individuals, companies, firms guarantor would always be a third person, who is liable to compensate in case of any loss suffered.  The word surety I also used instead of guarantee.  The practice is prevalent mostly in financial transactions and performance contracts.

        The word warranty is used of sale of goods. The Warranty is extended by the company/ manufacturers/end users. The company undertakes to set right any defects noticed in its products during specified period called warranty period. 

Q.:   If the property owner dies, what is the procedure to be followed for changing the property to his legal heirs?

A.:  Legal heirs have to approach the competent court of law to obtain succession certificate. Government employees may obtain legal heirs’ certificate from Revenue authorities.  In case the property left behind by the deseed person are sites/houses falling within the city limits, the legal heirs have to obtain a death certificate, succession certificate legal heirs certificates with supporting affidavit and details of the property before the concerned Revenue authorities like city corporation, city municipal councils, city municipalities, gram panchyaths for change in revenue records.  Similarly in the case of revenue lands one has to approach the concerned local authorities in the respective Taluk or the Tahsildar for the change of names in mutation records and RTC.  

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