Frequently Faced Challenges

Section V - Advance preparation for disability or death of main decision maker

V (a) Excel Checklist for creating comprehensive financial records

A financial database must be built to ensure that all the assets are inventoried, and the title transfer process is kicked off. Usually, the families start the rebuilding of financial data base after the loss of a loved one.

It really helps if there was already an Inventory of Assets available and if measures were taken in advance to cope with any eventuality.

The following templates can assist in the preparation of the inventory of assets:

Financial Assets Inventory Template

What my Family should know.xls (this is a downloadable google sheet file)

V (b): Nominations Process for assets

A. Mutual Funds:

Nomination enables an individual unitholder to nominate a person, who can claim the Units held by the unitholder or the redemption proceeds thereof in the event of death the unit holder. If the Units are held jointly by more than one person, all joint unit holders are required to together nominate a person in whom all the rights in the units would vest in the event of death of all the joint unit holders.

Mutual funds are required to provide an option to the individual unitholders to nominate in the specified manner. All the information and process for Nominations for Mutual Funds is available here.

Nominations can be made at any time – at the time of purchase or later. Nominations can be changed whenever you wish and as many times as you wish.

  • Physical nomination can be done
    • by manually submitting a different form to for each MF folio to each fund house. OR 
    • by submitting one form at CAMS / Kfintech location for all MFs. The standard nomination form is given here .
  • Online nomination is possible by:
    • logging into online account of the specific mutual fund.
    • single login account of your MFU portal
  • Make sure that you register your email id and phone number with each MF account, even if the investment was made in physical mode. You can create an online account with the fund house with the registered email id. This may allow you create/ modify/ delete nominations.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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B. Bank Accounts & Safe Deposit Lockers:

  • Each bank Account and Safe deposit locker can have only one (single) nominee. Multiple nominees are not allowed
  • Bank accounts with single holding: Nomination is extremely important. Many banks allow it to be done through online banking facility. In other cases a standardized nomination form needs to be filled manually.
  • Bank accounts with joint holding: A form needs to be manually filled, signed and submitted to the nearest branch.
  • A separate nomination form can be filed for each deposit.
  • The process for HDFC Bank is here. Similar online nomination facility is available with most banks.
  • Bank Locker: Nomination should be made separately for every locker with the branch. The nominee can only be an individual and there cannot be more than one nominee.

Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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C. Demat accounts:

nomination is very critical to avoid cumbersome legal and documentation process to transmit the holdings to the beneficiaries, more so in singly owned account. Each Depository Participant has a form that can be filled up and submitted to the DP. There can be up to three nominees. The form of HDFC Securities is here.

Demat account opened online: Nominations to Demat accounts cannot currently (as on August 14 2021) be made online. Make sure to submit a physical form with inked signature. The offline process to add a nominee to a Zerodha account is here.

SEBI has issued a circular that has made it compulsory for all trading and demat accounts opened after October 1, 2021 to either have a nomination or a declaration to be obtained from the Investor that he does not opt for nomination. The same circular also allows online nomination and Declaration form using e-Sign facility.
The circular also requires all existing trading and Demat accounts to also provide choice of nomination or declaration (of no nomination) latest by March 31, 2022 which can also be done online through e-sign. In effect online nomination will be in place soon latest by October 1, 2021 including for existing demat accounts.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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D. Post Office Schemes

Nominations are in the account opening forms itself. If the nomination is to be changed thereafter then a Form 10 reflecting the changes needs to be submitted. There is a small charge for revisions in nominations. There is no online facility for making or revising nominations.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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E: RBI Bonds

A nominee can be appointed by the purchaser of the RBI Bond at the time of purchase or thereafter. While online facility of purchase of RBI Bonds is available the changes in the nomination if required will need to be offline. A sample of the form is here.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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F. Insurance Policies

Nomination should always be done in a life insurance policy. Most insurance companies insist on nomination at the time of purchase of the policy.

  • The nomination can be changed at any time by filing a form specified by the insurance company. This has to be done manually. To the best of our knowledge this is not possible to do online.
  • Beneficial Nominee: As per the revised law of 2015, a Beneficial Nominee is a close relative of the policy holder – Child, spouse or parent (not siblings). If one of these was appointed as the nominee, then he/she would become the final owner of the proceeds of the Policy and there could be no other claimant.
  • Sometimes policy holder takes a loan against the insurance policy. The nominee should be updated after repaying the loan to avoid complications in case of demise of the policy holder.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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G. Employees Provident Fund:

EPF balance could form a substantial portion of the estate and all care should be taken to state appropriate nominee.

  • The nomination for EPF can be done either offline or online. It can be done online if the EPF subscriber has an UAN and online access to the PF portal. All the details for nomination of EPF can be found  here. Online nomination needs an e-sign through aadhar verification.
  • Many times when a person first gets employed he/she nominates their parents as the nominee. However they forget to change the nomination post marriage and this could create complications. Since the nomination has not been updated the might not be transferred to the wife/children.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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H. National Pension Scheme (NPS) :

Pension Fund Regulator PFRDA has allowed e-sign based online facility for change of nomination in NPS. The existing subscribers of NPS or National Pension Scheme who want to change their nomination have to submit an S2 form request for change of their master details physically to the associated nodal offices or points of presence for updating.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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I. Immovable Property

The inheritance of Immovable property will happen as per the Will (post probate) or as per the Succession Act in force. There is no common process of nomination as such.

However, in case the apartment is located in a building managed by a  Cooperative Society then the Title of the property (besides the Sale Deed) will also include the Shares in the Cooperative Society. These shares can have a nomination.

Immovable property is governed by State Law. Hence the legal standing of a nomination and process will have to be ascertained state wise.

In Maharashtra the form for nomination is given here.


Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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Section V (c) - Non-Legally binding documentation for critical care situations

The sudden serious illness of a loved one requiring artificial life maintenance systems means that the loved ones may need to make life or death decisions for the ill. Normally nobody is prepared for taking such decisions.

Consider this real-life example faced by an ARIA member. The member’s 83-year-old father was admitted to a hospital after a serious stroke. His condition was critical, and doctors asked him to provide consent for use of a ventilator (an artificial life maintenance device), if required. The consent to use was irrevocable. It meant that if the member consented to the use of a ventilator and his father was put on the ventilator, then till the demise of the patient or his getting better the ventilator would not be taken off even if the member wanted it later. Naturally if he did not give consent, his father would not be put on the ventilator and the consequences of that decision would follow. It was literally a life and death decision for which he was just not ready. Neither he nor his sibling or his other close family members knew about his father’s own view on the subject. It would have been a very crucial input that would have made the tough decision a tad easier. In any case after an excruciating one hour spent on talking it over with his close family the member was able to take a decision and convey it to the doctors. In his case fortunately his father’s condition improved enough so that the ventilator was not needed.

This shows the need for families to have such discussions among themselves. That decision is not about legally binding wishes (a Living will or Advance Health Directive or a Do not resuscitate (DNR) order). This is more about letting your loved ones know what your wishes are so that, if (God forbid) they ever must take the decision, they are not missing the critical input that he did not have. These wishes are not legally binding. They are just a guidepost for the loved ones. Given that artificial life maintenance treatments are so expensive, most hospitals in India will not put the patient on those devices unless they have written consent from the patient’s close relatives.

If you so desire, you can also document your views in this non legally binding Letter of Instructions regarding health treatment. Remember it is the discussion and letting your loved ones know your views that is important. The documentation is just for their comfort if (God forbid) they have to ever take that decision. Letter of instructions regarding my health treatment.doc

Section V (d): How trusted persons can access your financial assets in case of incapacitation

Consider this example of Sunil who went through a rather harrowing time.  His 83-year-old father was hospitalised after a massive stroke. While prompt medical attention ensured his survival, his bodily functions were severely impacted. His speech, cognition, communication was severely impacted. He was just able to recognise Sunil, his elder sister Shristi, their kids and some close friends.

Sunil’s experience holds lessons for all of us. Sunil’s father was a widower and financially independent. Sunil and Shristi were the only heirs. His assets were held in his own personal name, but he had no­m­­inations in place. Even his ph­o­n­e number and email id were registered with banks and the de­p­o­sitory participant. He had debit cards for all his bank acco­u­n­ts. He had also made his Will and registered it. In other words, he was well prepared for any eventuality.

Sunil’s father needed continuous care even after discharge. So, Sunil and his sister had to access his bank accounts and Demat accounts to take care of costs. “Though we were nominees, we could not access the accounts,” says Sunil, because the account holder was alive. All the Estate Planning measurements kick in only at the demise of account holders. The option available to them was:

Approach the high court to be appointed as guardians. But the process to be appointed as Guardians it was a time-consuming and expensive process.

Luckily since his father had not lost all his faculties, easier avenues were available. First, Sunil took charge of the phone and email id and looked at the practical ay of handling such situation.

His father had three bank accounts.

  • In the first private sector bank account, it was simple to activate the internet banking account and the debit card using his mobile number and email account.
  • In the second private sector bank account, they approached the branch manager and explained the situation. The manager sent a bank officer to get his father’s thumb impression on a form adding their names as joint holders.
  • Similar approval was taken to activate Sunil’s signature as PoA holder in the Demat account.
  • The third account was with a public sector bank, where things were again handled similarly where the bank officer came home to take the thumb impression of Sunil’s father.

In all Sunil and Shrishti were able to access their father’s financial resources to use in his treatment.

Unfortunately, incapacitation of the kind experienced by Sunil’s father has become more common than ever. Estate planning will need to include not only after demise, but also the intermediate stage of disability and emergency. The tradeoff for any such solution is that the trusted person may betray the trust and misuse the funds. Whether to take the risk or not is a personal decision that each investor has to take.

When you decide to take preventive measures for such situations, here are some things that you could do to prepare for disability :

  • Bank accounts: Add the name of the trusted person as a joint holder (on either or survivor basis). Name of the spouse /children in the existing bank accounts itself. This allows them to operate the bank account in your absence.
  • Store the password of your emails, bank accounts, demat etc. through a password vault like Truekey, Lastpass, Keeper, Dashlane, etc. and share that single password with the trusted person
  • Provide access to your mobile to the trusted person by adding their fingerprint, sharing pattern access, password etc.
  • Execute a power of attorney in favour of the trusted person in advance. The power of attorney can detail all the assets in respect of which the power of attorney holder can act on behalf of the holder. The power of attorney could be conditional (i.e. it becomes applicable only if the person is incapacitated) or it could be unconditional. In India it is possible that the power of attorney may not remain valid after the mental incapacitation of the person giving the power of attorney. In practice though a pre-executed power of attorney is of great help in dealing with such situations. If the assets include immovable assets, then the Power of Attorney would need to be registered with the registrar. This could attract significant stamp duty and registration charges in many states. In Maharashtra if the power of attorney is given to spouse or children in respect of residential flat or agricultural land then it attracts nominal stamp duty and registration charges.
    Downloadable documents:
    1) format of conditional POA.doc
    2). format of unconditional POA.doc
  • Conditional Settlement Deed in favour of a family member can be an economical vehicle in few states.
  • Please keep the family informed of your financial affair by using the checklist/excel sheet detailed in earlier section. What my Family should know.xls (this is a downloadable google sheet file)
Check List Yes/No
Discussion and Decision on use of artificial life maintenance system  
Register your email id and mobile in all bank accounts, Demat accounts, investment accounts.
Signed cheques/ Demat slips in favor of trusted person in safe custody.
Give access to mobile for a trusted person including sharing unlock pattern, unlock codes and imputing their fingerprints.
Using password access vaults like LastPass to share pass codes to the all-important email ids.
Stamped and registered POA to deal with immovable property, bank accounts, & Demat accounts

Section V (e): Preparing a will


  • Nominee holds the assets in trust for the true legal heirs.
  • Nomination only eases the process of transfer of assets after death. It does not confer title on the nominee.
  • Only exception is the nominee of a life insurance policy who is the parent, spouse, or child of the policy holder
  • Every Individual should make a will specifying the beneficiaries for all their assets.
  • Nominations should match the beneficiaries under the will to avoid confusion.
  • Several online services are also available to generate a will.
  • Simple drafts are also available on the Internet.

Will is an important document – ideally consult a proper legal or investment adviser before preparing it.

Last updated on 21 August, 2021

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