Karthik Nag

My sister was married 12 years ago and her husband passed away due to covid complications 20 days ago. He had joined IBM before his marriage and he had nominated his parents for F&F settlement and had not updated the nominee after marriage.

In laws of my sister are not in talking terms with my sister right from the beginning. Company has sent all F&F related documents to her brother in law. She is a home maker and have 2 kids and now rely on the F&F settlemt amount for her and kids education.

Who should be legal heir in this case as the nomination was done before maariage and was never updated later? She has not received any communication from HR so far as she is not a nominee mentioned in the F&F settlement.


This is one unfortunate fact where the employee did not change his nominee after marriage being an employee of IBM. To my opinion it also the fault of IBM HR Team. Good HR Teams usually take care pro-actively about employees welfare, compliance etc.

In my starting career early 80s just after my transfer to IR Dept. of M/S. GKW LTD, I faced one such case when employee committed suicide keeping nominee his widow mother and left behind him wife and one children. Wife moved to court and the court verdict was 60% to wife and 40% to widow mother based on probably the reference of court verdict of Maneka Gandhi vs Indira Gandhi regarding property of Sanjoy Gandhi who expired due to plane crash.

Immediately send one letter to IBM HR stating the fact with supporting document ( Marriage certificate ) and discuss with Advocate to move to appropriate court for relief.

S K Bandyopadhyay ( WB, Howrah)
CEO-USD HR Solutions

From India, New Delhi

The law on the point is that the nominee has only a right to receive the money from the employer and that does not mean appropriating (using) it. The rest of the heirs have their right and the courts have the right to apportion the benefits. As rightly advised by the Learned Member Shri Bandopadhyaya immediate inform the employer, IBM and take legal action staking your claim for the spouse and child of the deceased employee.
From India, Mumbai
Karthik Nag
Thank you Bandyopadhyay and KK HR for your reply. We have written multiple times to HR and they havnt responded to any of our concerns inspite of sending all legal documents. Very unfortunate. They were not even agreeing to talk to any of us regarding this matter. We have send out concern to Deputy labour commissioner today. Hope that helps us in some way. If nothing helps, last resort is to go to court to settle the matter. Thanks for your advice and spending time to reply to my query.


I think any delay is likely to be hurtful for you. The labour department cannot decide the matter of succession except in case of gratuity, as per the Payment of Gratuity Act 1972.
Once the payment is released to the parents it may become more lengthy and difficult to get the due share for the spouse and children, particularly with an unhelpful organisation. May be involving some family friend or community leaders could help in reaching a viable solution. But it would be better in your interest to act faster.

From India, Mumbai

Nominee has similar role of a Trustee. Nominee does not supersede the rights of a Legal Hire in any condition.
A Legal Hire does not become successor of a property automatically unless he or she claim and exercise his/ her rights.
The suggested course of action in the instant case is to serve a legal notice to the Employer asserting her claim and rights.
Meanwhile, apply and obtain for Legal Hire Certificate from concerned Authorities which may be a Pradhan/ Sarpanch/ Panchayat Officer/ Nayab Tehsildaar/ Anumandal Adhikaari/ SDM/ Circle Officer depends upon residence/ State.
File a writ in Local Civil Court to obtain a succession certificate from First Class Magistrate which will be issued after due process. It will take 3 to 6 months. As this is the routine work of Courts, don't fall for exorbitant demand fee by advocates. This does not require any special application of Brain and by paying more fee you will not get it any sooner.
The Succession Certificate will categorically define the rights of all successors. Based on available information in instant case, the legal hire of first tire, that is the wife, her 02 kids and the mother of the deceased, all will have equal shares i.e. 1/4th each. as the children are minors, the mother likely to be the natural guardian. Please note, the father of the deceased is not a first tire successor, hence he will not recieve any share in this property.

From India, New Delhi
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