Property Documentation
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When making a life-altering decision of purchasing a property, we either often delay or forget that every small step in the process needs to be followed with complete reverence. It not only saves one from legal battles at a future date but helps one establish a clear track record. From avoiding clerical mistakes in document copy to registering the property documents, it is always advisable to follow the norms.

Here we bring you reasons to why you need to register your documents.

  • It acts as a proof that the document was made or drawn.
  • Since the documentation will already be in public records, it will help prevent forgery and frauds.
  • Any litigation with respect to the property can be found out easily if the document is registered.
  • It will lead to greater transparency in transactions and deals as the information is publicly available on demand.

In the watershed case of Narinder Singh Rao, whose father died leaving a piece of paper which read that the wife could inherit all the property after his death, was signed only by a single witness and the document was not registered. The widowed mother gave the property to one of her nine children which was challenged by the other siblings in court. The Supreme Court held that since the document was not signed by two witnesses or registered, the document was invalid and hence, it observed that all the children had a right in the father’s property. Two statements can be drawn out from the case. First, proper attestation is necessary. Secondly, registration of documents is of paramount importance.

Proper attestation

Two independent witnesses should sign the will. Independent means that both the witnesses should not benefit from the will in any way. Either one can be a witness or a beneficiary. There is no in-between when it comes to attestation. A residuary legatee gets the remainder of the property which has not been allocated to any one in case the beneficiary is same as the witness. Although relatives, not related by blood, can be witnesses, it is advisable to have independent witnesses who are not a part of the family.

Registration beckons

Instruments of gift of immovable property have to be registered under Section 17 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908. Gift or sale deeds which are part of immovable property have to be registered. Otherwise, they are considered invalid and not under the purview of law. The transfer of property can only be done through a conveyance deed and not the general power of attorney according to a 2011 Supreme Court judgement. Experts suggest that registering a property leads to greater transparency and acts as a valid proof that the property has been transferred or sold. You can also manage to get a duplicate copy of the property documents from the registrar’s office in case you lose the first set of documents. Excluding the stamp duty charges, the cost of registering a property varies anywhere from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 depending on the state.

Though not all documents need to be registered under the Indian Registration Act, Section 18 states that moveable properties including a will should ideally be registered to lend credibility to it. Any piece of paper signed by two witnesses may act as a will but registration helps forgo any legal battles between heirs at a later date.