Successor(s) in conflict with Nominee(s)

Last updated: December 2020 | 5 min read

In terms of the present write up I shall focus my attention to the discussion on a legal proposition relating to a peculiar type of Succession Dispute, which may be enumerated thus:

Whether a nominee can claim beneficial interest in the estate he was nominated to, to the exclusion of the other legal heirs of the deceased owner?

The answer to this is NO.


That a nomination made in favour of a particular person does not have the effect of conferring any beneficial interest on the nominee after the death of the original owner.

The Legal Principal answering the legal proposition that we are discussing today, has been settled by the Supreme Court long back in the case of Smt. Sarbati Devi Vs. Usha Devi [(1984) 1 SCC 424]:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in terms of the pronouncement above mentioned has ruled that Nomination does not confer any beneficial interest on the nominee.

The nominee of course is entitled to receive the same, but the amount so received is to be distributed according to the law of succession amongst all the legal heirs of the deceased.

Conclusion of the discussion in brief for reiteration:

Nomination of the estate of a deceased in the name of someone cannot deprive the legal heirs/successors from their right of succession in accordance with relevant law.

Legal remedy for the legal heirs who find themselves entangled in a similar legal complication may note that:

  • The property or the amount, as the case may be, can be claimed by the heirs of the deceased, in accordance with the law of succession governing them by filing a Civil Suit before the Court of competent jurisdiction.
  • The jurisdiction can be exercised by the District Court or the High Court depending upon the value of the property/money involved.

The Citation of the Judgments referred herein above has been emphasized and reiterated in the following Judgments as recent as July 2019:


1.      Ashok Chand Aggarwala Vs. Delhi Administration & Ors.

[(1998) VII AD (Delhi) 639]


2.      Ganesharam vs Gulab @ Gulidevi

S.B. Civil First Appeal No. 44/2019 dated 20th July 2019

Rajasthan High Court – Jodhpur


For further interaction, please email:


Mr. Rakesh Taneja

Advocate, Supreme Court of India

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