The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) recently tweeted asking account holders to add nominees to their accounts online. Although EPFO has not mentioned any deadline to complete the nomination process, it is advisable to update details at the soonest. Some of those who have successfully updated their nominations agree that trying at odd hours may be helpful. Apart from accessing the website at low-usage time, such as late night, with strong internet connectivity, they said they kept all the details such as address, Aadhaar number, PAN etc. ready, and kept photos of size less than 100 KB ready so that all the information could be uploaded at the soonest.
While EPFO has been repeatedly prompting account holders to update their nomination details, you should do the same for all investment and savings products, starting from the savings account and locker with banks to insurance policies and mutual funds.
Not adding a nominee to financial products could lead to confusion, misunderstanding and even exploitation among family members
Many people tend to leave the ‘nomination’ section blank in forms. Ideally, the nominee section should be filled. To drive home the importance of giving nominee details, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently roped in superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
The nominee is the trustee you appoint to ensure your assets are passed on to your heirs. The nominee collects the assets from the bank or some other financial entity such as a fund house, and apportions it to your heirs based on your instructions. The nominee is not necessarily the person who is entitled to the asset but only the trusty for the same. So, unless there's a Will stating clearly that the nominee is also a beneficiary or heir, or if there are no other heirs, the nominee may not be entitled to the money or assets.
“Having a nominee means that on a person’s demise, the accounts of the depositor are easily accessible to the family. The bank will entrust the deposits to the nominee. In the absence of nomination, the process can become lengthy and complicated,” says Adhil Shetty, CEO of BankBazaar.com, a financial services website.
The nominee is the person designated by the depositor to act as his or her trustee. In the absence of nomination, several things come into play. If the account is held jointly as either or survivor, then the survivor may claim the deposit. If it is held as a joint holding, then the bank will usually give the funds jointly to the surviving holder and the legal heirs of the deceased.
“If the account has a single operator, then the heirs may have to present the Will of the deceased to state their claim on the asset. In case the deceased died intestate, then the bank may be willing to deliver the assets to the legal heirs on the basis of indemnity-cum-affidavit, if there is no reasonable doubt about the genuineness of the claimants. In this case, all the legal heirs making the claim will have to jointly submit an indemnity to the bank,” says Shetty.
In all cases, the claimants have to make an application and submit it along with a copy of the death certificate of the account holder, the claim form, and the address and ID proof of each claimant. If there are multiple heirs and the assets have to be transferred to only one of them, then the other heirs will have to sign a letter of disclaimer, relinquishing all rights to the assets in favour of the claimant.
We save and invest to get the best results for ourselves and our families. Incomplete or absent nominee details can throw a spanner in the works.