The Married Women’s Property Act

15th March 2017
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It is often said that in India, you don’t marry the individual, you marry the entire family. While the world is grappling with loneliness, we Indians are enjoying the comforts being concerned in large families intertwined with cousins and relatives.

Women in India are often commended for their ability to adjust and accept the nuances of a new family selflessly. However, India is largely a practical society with limited financial independence according to women. We rarely stop to think of an untoward incidence that may lead to this privilege being lost in the absence of the husband or the dissolution of the business. It is therefore not only practical, but also necessary to secure women and their children from financial hurdles that life may bestow during the course.

We do not need to look very far for a solution. Section 6 of the Married Women Property Act (MWPA). 1874, provides a very simple route to protect the family by securing the assets of the survivors in case of the death of the breadwinner of the family or the insolvency of business.

The act merely says that when a married man takes out life insurance policy endorsed under the MWPA, irrespective of his demise or bankruptcy, the benefits as a part of the life insurance policy are payable to those nominated under this policy. Which can either be the wife alone, the children (natural or adopted) or a combination of the wife as well as the children. The proceeds from this policy are not accessible to creditors or other family members or for that matter not even the husband himself. Any amount invested in this policy is payable to the beneficiaries chosen right at the beginning. Hence any money back received as part of the product structure or amount accumulated under a traditional endowment or unit linked plan will simply be payable to the beneficiary at the maturity of the policy.

This act is not very well known, but was created to protect the married women and is applicable to all married women in India! A married man, a divorcee or a widower, residing in any state in India except J&K, can buy the policy.

It is often quoted that family is not an important thing, It is everything ! Let us celebrate the beautiful nuances that comes with a large support system.

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