1

Jurisdiction: India

Legislation: Hindu Succession Act

Where a will mandates any beneficiary challenging it stands to forfeit certain provisions made for that beneficiary, is the forfeit clause good in law?

2

A will made by a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain is governed by the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (the Hindu Succession Act applies when there is no will).

The forfeiture clause is not good in law if the challenge is successful.

Most common law courts have adopted the doctrine that a "no contest clause" is invalid in cases where there is probable cause for a contest, even if the contest is not successful.

I am certain that there is case law on the subject as there have been billions of deaths in India since 1925, many of which were the subject of contested probates where there was a no contest clause. But, I was not able to locate case law or secondary sources from India on this legal issue.

The forfeiture clause is valid in the case of an unsuccessful challenge, at a minimum, in cases where the court finds that there was not probable cause for a will contest, and possibly in all cases where there is an unsuccessful challenge.

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