NRI and Inheritance: Solving the succession challenge | The Financial Express

Clipped from: https://www.financialexpress.com/money/nri-and-inheritance-solving-the-succession-will-bank-accounts-insurance-fd/2642945/

If the deceased has left a will, it needs to be read out, and for the NRI son/daughter who has inherited the assets, it’s time for paperwork.

NRI, inheritance, succession, will, bank accounts, insurance, FD, mutual fund, MFFor an NRI, who has just lost a family member, there are many aspects that need to be planned and executed.

By Sejal Sheth, Co-Founder, Easyinherit

Currently, more than 13 million Indians live abroad for job opportunities, higher education, et al. Some of them periodically visit India to spend time with family and friends, while others rarely get a chance to fly back. Many of them may have elderly parents or other family members who pass on and leave behind assets as inheritance.

The loss of a loved one is already a painful feeling. And, if you haven’t been around during the unfortunate incident, the grief can be overwhelming. For an NRI, who has just lost a family member, there are many aspects that need to be planned and executed, like the journey across continents to be home for the last rites, dealing with the loss while still being jet-lagged, a host of rituals, and well-meaning yet endless queries from well-wishers, all of which can be very exhausting.

By the time everything is taken care of, the actual moment of truth arrives — learning about properties and other financial assets, checking for a will, and deciding on the next course of action. Then begins a never-ending series of calls/visits to lawyers, banks, municipalities, etc., with the stress levels possibly hitting the roof. If the deceased has left a will, it needs to be read out, and for the NRI son/daughter who has inherited the assets, it’s time for paperwork. But do they have the time or knowledge to go through the tedious task of claiming or taking charge of what belongs to them? Possibly not.

The alleys of law and government procedures are not always easy to navigate. It can take years of patient follow-ups and dealings with intermediaries who can demand extra money to get simple things processed. The steps include knowing what all has been inherited, transferring the name from the deceased to the current owner, taking care of taxes (if any), closing bank accounts, following up with insurance and mutual fund companies for claims, redeeming FDs, etc. While these are overwhelming for even residents, one can only imagine the struggles of an NRI, who may have limited time to spend in the country owing to commitments back home.

Inheritance can fall into various asset classes like immovable properties (houses or land) or financial assets like insurance, mutual funds, fixed deposits, etc. The presence of a will simplifies many problems. But if it doesn’t exist, things may get complicated. As for NRIs, claiming inherited assets involves taking note of several rules, like Specialised Succession Advisories, Wealth Tax, the tax levied in case of repatriation, legitimacy of claims in case of financial assets, and more. But not everyone may be knowledgeable enough, and an advisor’s help is always the best way out. Platforms like EasyInherit offer assistance in succession planning and professional legal help to make the process smoother.

If you live abroad and have ageing parents living in India, talking to them about succession may not be easy, but something that’s inevitable and needs to be done. For most Indians, mentioning property and inheritance can lead to awkward and/or unpleasant situations. However, to ensure inheritance passes on rightfully and hassle-free, the best scenario would be to write a will at the right time or at least to get a consolidated portfolio with information on all assets. A bit of planning is all that is needed to make inheritance a simpler procedure for everyone, including NRIs. The first step for this can be creating an EasyPortfolio to bring together all assets of an inheritance. Let’s do what we can remotely to let our grieving process be free of the operational hassles of inheritance.

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