Two witnesses need to be present for executing a gift deed
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The Private Client team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas shares their comments and opinions in an article in the  following Q&A which was published by the Mint Newspaper on 10th November, 2021 and the online edition of the same can be found here.

My father wants to transfer our house to my sister as a gift deed. I’m willing to sign a no objection certificate for the same. My father cannot hold a steady hand while writing or signing and is not able to get up on his own, let alone walk. The house is in my father’s name. My sister has been caring for my mother and father for years now. Somebody said that we should hire a pro for video recording if my father cannot go to the registration office to sign the gift deed. It could cost 30,000-40,000. Would his thumb impression taken at home be enough? What is the right process to follow?

—Name withheld on request

Your father would be permitted to use his thumb impression to execute the gift deed. We would recommend that you obtain a medical certificate from your father’s consulting physician, attesting to your father’s mental capacity to execute documents. This could also elaborate on his present physical condition.

The doctor’s certificate would be crucial for evidentiary purposes should the gift deed be challenged in the future. We would also recommend a video recording of the execution, where he can acknowledge that he fully understands the scope of the gift deed and is executing the document without any coercion, etc. The recording must specifically capture the moment wherein your father affixes his thumb impression on the gift deed.

The presence of two witnesses for the execution of the gift deed will be required. The gift deed will also need to be registered. You may need to speak to your local registrar to obtain an exemption for your father from attending the registration process in person. The doctor’s medical certificate would be useful for this purpose as well.

The transfer under the gift deed would also attract the payment of stamp duty (the quantum of stamp duty would depend on the location of the property).