Last time, we talked about Karan C's unfortunate situation with his father's land. Quick recap:
- Karan’s father used his hard earned money to buy land for him and his extended family to build a house
- Karan’s father registered the land on his own father’s name on the advice of a pundit
- Karan’s grandfather died without writing a will
- Karan’s aunt and uncles are claiming rights to portions of the land as “it was their father’s”
- Karan’s father considered a civil lawsuit
Karan’s father could not bring himself to take his siblings to court. So, for a while, everything was in a stalemate. Karan’s dad would attempt to negotiate and his siblings would shut him down. Eventually, one of Karan’s uncles passed away. He did not have any children of his own and didn’t have anyone to pass property on to. For that reason, Karan’s father was able to negotiate with his sister-in-law to renege her and her husband’s claim to the land. More than a decade after the problems began, Karan’s father was able to regain a quarter of his property.
After many years of effort and a small triumph, Karan’s ageing father has relinquished the responsibility to Karan. Now, Karan is left with the massive work of consolidating his inheritance from his remaining family. His remaining uncle and aunt also passed their claims unto their sons. As is often seen, a fight over property has become generational. Karan tried to reason with his cousins to get them to renounce their claims. They refused. He tried to negotiate for a monetary exchange. They refused.
Once, in a heated discussion, Karan mentioned the possibility of legal action and matters turned from bad to worse. It turns out Karan and his cousins also owned adjacent land parcels in a distant village. To keep things simple, let’s call the land Karan’s father purchased Land A. The land in the distant village will be Land B. Karan’s portion of Land B is entirely surrounded by his cousins’ land. He has no access to Land B from the road. He had to cross his cousin’s land to get there. The irrigation network for Karan’s portion of Land B also comes through his cousins’ portions. Karan’s cousins, who felt threatened by legal action, completely cut Karan out of his part of Land B. He can’t get to it from the road and he can’t grow anything on it as the water supply has been cut off. Essentially, the land is useless as Karan can’t utilize it. He can’t even sell it since no one would like to purchase a land-locked parcel.
Karan, who feels like he is out of options, is now considering trading his portion of Land B to his cousins for their portions of Land A. Due to lack of proper planning and documentation, Karan can, at best, look forward to losing one of his lands for complete ownership of property that should already be his. At worst, he can start a civil court case that will take decades to resolve and will more than likely involve his own children and will become a financial burden.
Karan’s problem is quite common in India. In retrospect, it also has a simple fix. Had Karan’s grandfather written a will to pass down the land appropriately to Karan’s father, this entire nightmare could have been avoided. Although, the fix is obvious, the problem, at first, was not. Land acquisition and inheritance are tricky subjects to navigate. Using Landeed’s property consultation services, land owners can reduce their liabilities. As part of our Legal Opinion service, we assess the risk to property - both owned and prospective. In the case of owned land, we start with ensuring title security and work all the way down to how property can be split amongst inheritors properly. Landeed’s expert land consultation services could have helped Karan’s grandfather and father avoid their mistakes(If we had existed back then). From help with title registration to due diligence, Landeed is here to make property related bureaucratic processes as simple and safe as possible. Because when we protect, you prosper.
Missed part 1? Read it here