The incidence of elderly people revoking the wills where they unconditionally wrote the names of their children is on a rise in Tamil Nadu, due to the children not taking care of their parents when they are in dire need.
Chennai and other parts of the state are witnessing an increase in the number of such elderly people who are pointing out the provisions in the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. The provisions in this Act make it mandatory for the children to look after their parents. If any child fails to take care of his/her parent, the Act allows the unilateral revocation of the will.
Talking to IANS, Dr Ramachandra Kumar, a retired medical service practitioner living in Tambaram, Chennai, said: “I want to revoke my will which I had lovingly given to my son. Now it’s difficult for me as my son and daughter-in-law are not looking after me and my wife. We don’t have anything on our own. So I want to revoke this will.”
A senior officer with the Tamil Nadu Revenue Department told IANS that around 8,500 such petitions were received across the state in the last two years and 6,125 of them were disposed of.
However, sadly most of these settlement deeds do not comply with the recent verdict of the Supreme Court, which states specifically that the settlement should be conditional and the parents should mention a condition that they were gifting their property to the children in lieu of them being taken care of.
The revenue officer said that this has become a handicap as a majority of the parents have not mentioned this in the deeds that were registered earlier.
With the revenue officials finding it difficult to cancel the deed due to the non-inclusion of the provision mentioned in the Supreme court verdict, the senior citizens are approaching the Special Cell in Chief Minister’s office hoping for a solution to their woes.
Madurai-based advocate Manonmani Govind told IANS that “most of the senior citizens prefer a settlement deed instead of a will to avoid the requirement to probate the will and most of the settlement deeds do not contain any condition precedent to retain the right putting the senior citizens in difficulties”.
She said that the senior citizens must approach good lawyers who are well acquainted with the latest provisions of the law.
The senior lawyer also said that the legal services authority should take up an awareness programme regarding the latest provisions in the law among the senior citizens and suggested that local resident associations and NGOs could be roped in to execute the programme.
V. Shivakumar of HelpAge India said that they are creating awareness among the senior citizens about the ‘condition’ to be included in the deed.