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Importance of appointing nominee and RBI guidelines on claims

nomination in bank accounts

Why nomination is important

Nomination is an ideal tool to mitigate hardships of common persons in settlement of claims in the event of death of the account holder. Though Nomination is optional for customers, if availed, would ensure smooth settlement of claim to the nominee or the legal heir. It simplifies the procedure for settlement of claims of deceased depositors as banks / institutions get a valid discharge by making payment of the balance outstanding in a depositor’s account at the time of his death or delivering contents of locker or articles kept in safe custody to the nominee, and the legal heir doesn’t have to face unnecessary hardship in such cases.

However, nomination does not take away the rights of legal heirs on the estate of the deceased. The nominee would be receiving such stock as a trustee of the legal heirs.

What is Nomination :

Nomination is a facility that enables a deposit account holder (individual or sole proprietor) or safe deposit locker holder to nominate an individual, who can claim the proceeds of the deposit account or contents of the safe deposit locker, post the demise of the original depositor or locker holder.

Who can Nominate?

  • Bank account holders having deposit accounts in their individual names or in joint names of two or more individuals can appoint a nominee to their accounts
  • A sole proprietor can appoint a nominee to the sole proprietorship account with the bank
  • In the case of a deposit account in the name of a minor, nomination shall be made by a person lawfully entitled to act on behalf of the minor in respect of a deposit account
  • Safe deposit locker holder(s) can appoint nominee(s) on their Safe deposit locker(s)
  • A nomination can be made only in respect of a deposit account which is held in the individual capacity of the depositor, and not in any representative capacity such as the holder of an office like Director of a Company, Secretary of an Association, partner of a firm, or Karta of an HUF.

Nomination in PPF Accounts :

In case of death of the account holder, irrespective of the sum outstanding in the account, the legal heirs will get a maximum of Rs 1,00,000 only if there is no nominee mentioned in that PPF account. So it is imperative to have nominee mentioned in your PPF account. However, you cannot nominate for accounts opened in the name of a minor.

Nomination in Life Insurance Policies:

Because of the Principal of Insurable Interest in Life Insurance, do ensure that the nominee is a close family member. In case you want to nominate a non-family member like a friend or third party, you will have to provide enough evidence to the insurance company that there is some insurable interest for the person. A policyholder can appoint multiple nominees and can also specify their shares in the policy proceeds. You can appoint minors also as nominee, but make sure to provide the name of guardian till the minor attains the age of 18.

Nomination in Mutual Fund Accounts:

You can nominate up to three people, who can be registered at the time of purchasing the units in Mutual Funds. Nomination in mutual funds is at folio level and all units in the folio will be transferred to the nominee(s). If an investor makes a further investment in the same folio, the nomination is applicable to the new units also.

Concept of Survivorship

A joint account opened as “Either or Survivor” or “Anyone or Survivors” or “Former or Survivor” or “Latter or Survivor” will permit the surviving account holder(s) to have unimpeded access to the credit balance in the account for withdrawal if one of the co-account holders dies. If the mandate of survivorship is given / provided, the survivor(s) can give a valid discharge to the institution / bank in the case of “Either or Survivor” / “Anyone or Survivors” and “Former or Survivor” / “Latter or Survivor” joint accounts. In short, payment to survivor(s) can be made in the normal course subject to the only rider that there is no order from a competent court restraining from making such payment.

Delays in settlement of claims of the nominee / legal heirs of the deceased depositors by banks cause considerable hardship. Claims by legal heirs / nominee could be in respect of deposits, safe custody articles or contents of lockers. In the absence of nomination or clear mandate in respect of a joint account or a will left behind by the deceased depositor, banks are required to pay the stock (balance outstanding) at the time of death of the person to all the legal heirs. Considering the risk involved, banks traditionally used to look for legal representation (in the form of a succession certificate, letter of administration or probate) for settlement of claims.

In order to remove the hardships faced by Common Person, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), vide circular No. DBOD.No.Leg.BC.95 /09.07.005/2004-05, has issued detailed guidelines for evolving simplified procedure for settlement of claims in respect of deceased depositors. We can broadly define these guidelines as:

1… Accounts where the Survivor / Nominee is available:

In the case of deposit accounts where the depositor had utilized the nomination facility and made a valid nomination or where the account was opened with the survivorship clause (‘either or survivor’, or ‘anyone or survivor’, or ‘former or survivor’ or ‘latter or survivor’), the payment of the balance in the deposit account to the survivor(s) / nominee of a deceased deposit account holder represents a valid discharge of the bank’s liability provided :

a. the bank has exercised due care and caution in establishing the identity of the survivor(s) / nominee and the fact of death of the account holder, through appropriate documentary evidence;
b. there is no order from the competent court restraining the bank from making the payment from the account of the deceased; and
c. it has been made clear to the survivor(s) / nominee that he would be receiving the payment from the bank as a trustee of the legal heirs of the deceased depositor, i.e., such payment to him shall not affect the right or claim which any person may have against the survivor(s) / nominee to whom the payment is made.

It may be noted that since payment made to the survivor(s) / nominee, subject to the foregoing conditions, would constitute a full discharge of the bank’s liability, insistence on production of legal representation is superfluous and unwarranted and only serves to cause entirely avoidable inconvenience to the survivor(s) / nominee and would, therefore, invite serious supervisory disapproval. In such case, therefore, while making payment to the survivor(s) / nominee of the deceased depositor, the banks are advised to desist from insisting on production of succession certificate, letter of administration or probate, etc., or obtain any bond of indemnity or surety from the survivor(s)/nominee, irrespective of the amount standing to the credit of the deceased account holder.

General practice among banks :

Banks generally asks for the following documentation

  • Application
  • Copy of the death certificate issued by the Municipal Authority or Village Panchayat
  • Identification documents of the nominee such as valid Election ID Card, PAN Card or Passport or any other satisfactory proof of identification as acceptable to the concerned bank

The bank generally make the payment to the nominee unless on or before the time of payment any order of court is received prohibiting the bank from making such payment.

2… Accounts where the Survivor / Nominee is not available:

In case where the deceased depositor had not made any nomination or for the accounts other than those styled as ‘either or survivor’ (such as single or jointly operated accounts), banks are advised to adopt a simplified procedure for repayment to legal heir(s) of the depositor keeping in view the imperative need to avoid inconvenience and undue hardship to the common person. In this context, banks may, keeping in view their risk management systems, fix a minimum threshold limit, for the balance in the account of the deceased depositors, up to which claims in respect of the deceased depositors could be settled without insisting on production of any documentation other than a letter of indemnity.

General practice among banks :

Banks generally define a threshold limit for releasing the sum, and ask for the following documentation

  • Application
  • Copy of the death certificate issued by the Municipal Authority or Village Panchayat
  • Indemnity – with or without surety
  • Identification documents of the nominee such as valid Election ID Card, PAN Card or Passport or any other satisfactory proof of identification as acceptable to the concerned bank

For cases beyond the threshold limit some additional documents may be asked :

  • A Succession Certificate
  • A Probate (in case of a Will)
  • A Letter of Administration

3… Premature Termination of term deposit accounts :

In the case of term deposits, banks are advised to incorporate a clause in the account opening form itself to the effect that in the event of the death of the depositor, premature termination of term deposits would be allowed. The conditions subject to which such premature withdrawal would be permitted may also be specified in the account opening form. Such premature withdrawal would not attract any penal charge.

4… Treatment of flows in the name of the deceased depositor :

In order to avoid hardship to the survivor(s) / nominee of a deposit account, banks are advised to obtain appropriate agreement / authorization from the survivor(s) / nominee with regard to the treatment of pipeline flows in the name of the deceased account holder. In this regard, banks could consider adopting either of the following two approaches:

  • The bank could be authorized by the survivor(s) / nominee of a deceased account holder to open an account styled as ‘Estate of Shri ________________, the Deceased’ where all the pipeline flows in the name of the deceased account holder could be allowed to be credited, provided no withdrawals are made.

OR

  • The bank could be authorized by the survivor(s) / nominee to return the pipeline flows to the remitter with the remark ‘Account holder deceased’ and to intimate the survivor(s) / nominee accordingly. The survivor(s) / nominee / legal heir(s) could then approach the remitter to effect payment through a negotiable instrument.

5… Access to the safe deposit lockers / safe custody articles :

For dealing with the requests from the nominee(s) of the deceased locker-hirer / depositors of the safe-custody articles (where such a nomination had been made) or by the survivor(s) of the deceased (where the locker / safe custody article was accessible under the survivorship clause), for access to the contents of the locker / safe custody article on the death of a locker hirer / depositor of the article, the banks are advised to adopt generally the foregoing approach, mutatis mutandis, as indicated for the deposit accounts.

6… Death of Karta in a HUF account :

In case death of the Karta of a HUF account, the banks generally seek a confirmation from the existing members on whether they will be continuing with the HUF. In case they are, then a revised HUF declaration signed by the remaining co-parceners appointing the Karta is obtained. In case not, then the relevant documents relating to partition of the property should be obtained before co-parceners are allowed to withdraw the funds.

7… Time limit for settlement of claims :

Banks are advised to settle the claims in respect of deceased depositors and release payments to survivor(s) / nominee(s) within a period not exceeding 15 days from the date of receipt of the claim subject to the production of proof of death of the depositor and suitable identification of the claim(s), to the bank’s satisfaction.

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Understanding Financial Planning and the key areas of a Financial Plan

Financial Planning

Financial Planning

A life without goals is really not worthy.

Goals may include worldly things like buying a home, saving for your child’s education or marriage or planning for retirement or even planning a vacation. In order to accomplish these goals, a proper planning and management of your money is required.

Thus Financial planning is the process of meeting your life goals through proper management of your finances.

Globally, money environment has witnessed a sea change in the last few years. Gone are the days when there were limited investment options and investors did not have much to plan on their investments and generally, bank managers, accountants, share broker and insurance agents generally provided advice on investment to individuals. Most of it is restricted to recommending you one particular product, more often from their own parent company or is guided by their targets or commission.

But now we have multiple choices. This has added complexity to the decision-making process about our money. And thus more and more people are now turning to professional financial planner for a comprehensive roadmap on financial planning to achieve their all money related goals. A financial planner in essence, assist them to make informed decisions about their money and how it can be used to best advantage.

Financial planning essentially involves the following steps:

1. Assessment: The first step is to assess the financial position with the help of personal financial balance sheets and income statements. A personal balance sheet includes personal assets such as investments in various financial instruments, including bank, cash, property etc. The balance sheet also includes personal liabilities, which includes all the loans, credit card balance, any other liabilities.

2. Defining goals: As explained earlier goals may include worldly things like buying a home, saving for your child’s education or marriage or planning for retirement or even planning a vacation. One must also define objective and time frame of goals.

3. Making financial plan: The financial plan gives you  the structure and clear cut roadmap to achieve  your goals. A financial plan includes the investments you can make (with whatever existing fund and income sources), their expected yields, your current and expected future income and expenses. It also helps you visit your current investments and help you take a decision on whether to keep them or replace them with more secure / better yielding asset. It also help you look at the current expenses and how they might impact your financial goals.

4. Execution: An effective execution of  personal financial plan can help you achieve your financial goals. Your financial planner plays a very crucial role in helping you execute the plan.

5. Monitoring: You must take help of your financial planner to monitor your financial health and the effectiveness of the investments you have made. It is essential to monitor on a regular basis as the micro and macro economic changes might ask you to take a look into your current financial health.

Some of the key areas that a well drafted Financial Plan must include are:

a) Current financial position: This can be ascertained with the help of making a net worth statement that includes your assets and liabilities.

b) Emergency fund: Emergence fund helps you meet your emergency expenses. A reasonable amount of money which may be calculated depending on the your current lifestyle, family, flow of income.

c) Risk and Protection planning: Risks in the context of financial planning can be divided into liability (loans etc.), property (fire, theft etc.), death (loss of income to your dependents) , disability and health (medical emergencies). Lets look at the generally heard life insurance. Different people buy life insurance for different reasons, but most of us have a need for it at some point in our lives. The type we need, the amount we need, and the reasons why we need it may change; but it definitely plays a vital role in most financial plans. Here are some reasons why people purchase life insurance:

To Pay off debts
Life insurance can be an inexpensive way to make sure there is ready cash to cover any financial obligations (Loans etc.) you leave behind.

Replace your income for your family
It helps to cover the uncertainties in our life. It helps your Children to complete their education, your wife to take care of the household expenses, your dependent parents to live their life comfortably in case you are not with them.

Tax planning ( u/s 80 C )
Many people use life insurance as part of tax planning strategy designed to potentially reduce taxes.

One must choose his insurance plan with utmost care. The choices available are:

  • Term Insurance
  •  Endowment
  •  Whole Life Insurance
  •  Medical Insurance (Regular)
  •  Critical Illness
  •  Accidental and Permanent Disability
  •  Key Person Insurance
  •  Employee Benefit

Other Key Insurance requirement includes :

  •  Vehicle Insurance
  •  House Insurance
  •  Factory Insurance
  •  Travel Insurance
  •  Professional Indemnity

Determining how much insurance to get, at the most cost effective terms will help you get better value for money.

d) Investment planning: What rate of return do you need to meet your goals? Are your current investments achieving the return? What is the best asset allocation (Mutual Fund, FD’s, Bullion, Cash, Insurance, PF, Bonds, Property etc.) suited to your profile. What investments opportunities do you use to implement this asset mix? What shall be the best Mutual Fund, FD and other such investments are suited to your needs?

Their is no definite answer to all these. It all depends on person to person. You may have a different risk profile, life goals, time horizon, and current portfolio than that of your friend.

e) Tax planning: Tax Planning essentially means using a strategy to either reduce or shift your current tax liabilities. Even Government allows and encourages tax saving to us. Tax planning saves you your hard earned money. And avoids last minute rush to put your money into investments such as u/s 80C. And other sections also you ample opportunity to save you your taxes.

There are investments that are totally exempted from Tax on their profit. And some get concessional tax treatment, which means they are taxed at a lower rate. It also benefits if you meticulously define out in whose name in the family to invest, so as to reduce the tax liability, if any. A salaried person can also reduce its Tax liability by various means. Lets look at some of the tax saving instruments :

U/s 80C
Public Provident Fund. Maximum amount is s. 70000/- in a year
Employee Provident Fund
National Saving Certificates
Kisan Vikas Patra
Insurance Policies
ELSS
Tax saving FDs
New pension schemes
Senior citizen saving scheme
Children Tuition fee
Repayment of housing loan (Principal)

U/s 80CCF
Specified Infrastructure bonds upto Rs. 20000/-

U/s 80D
Premium paid for mediclaim insurance for individual Rs. 15000/- and another Rs. 20000/- if paid for parents who are senior citizens

U/s 80DD
Expenditure on handicapped dependents from Rs. 50000/- to Rs. 100000/- depending on the severity

U/s 80DDB
Expenditure incurred on specified diseases or ailments

U/s 80E
Interest paid on higher education loan

U/S 24(1)(Vi)
Interest paid on housing loans

f) Retirement Planning: Old Age typically brings income Insecurity, dependency on children, medical expenses, but most of the people are generally not worried about their old age and retirement.  Let’s start tackling the how of retirement planning by asking the No.1 retirement question: “How much money do I need at the time of my retirement’’ ?

The answer to this question contains some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news: There really is no single number that would guarantee everyone an adequate retirement. It depends on many factors, including your desired standard of living, your expenses (including any medical costs) and your target retirement age. Now for the good news: It’s entirely possible to determine a reasonable number for your own retirement needs. All it involves is answering a few questions and doing some number crunching. Providing you plan ahead and estimate on the conservative side, it’s entirely possible for you to accumulate a nest egg sufficient to last you through your golden years. There are several key tasks you need to complete before you can determine what size of nest egg you’ll need in order to fund your retirement. These include the following:

Decide the age at which you want to retire.
Decide the annual income you’ll need for your retirement years. It may be wise to estimate on the high end for this number. Generally speaking, it’s reasonable to assume you’ll need about 70% – 80% of your current annual salary in order to maintain your current standard of living.
Determine a realistic annualized real rate of return (net of inflation) on your investments. Conservatively assume inflation will be 6-7 % annually.
A realistic rate of return would be 7 -10%. Again, estimate on the low end to be on the safe side.

g) Estate planning: Estate Planning essentially includes having a succession plan in place, so that your dependents, other family members and the people you love must know how your assets be distributed in an unfortunate event of you being no more in this world. If a person dies without a will or trust, known as dying intestate, he / she generally leaves heirs confused or fighting over who gets what from their assets.
In order to have a good succession plan in place, one must consider the following :
• Decide whether you need will or living trust!
Both are part of estate planning. A Will act as a guide on distribution of assets. Living trust is generally safer and let your assets be distributed in a cost effective manner and without the hassle of probate of will. You can have a living trust that allows you manage your assets during your life. And after your demise these assets are then passed on to your beneficiaries. Trusts are more helpful when you have valuable properties and / or a complex successor tree. Having both will and trust is a better idea in certain cases.

Who shall be the beneficiaries
• If your children are still very young then who shall be their guardian
• Who shall be the best person to execute your will or act as successor trustee
• Assignment of medical power of attorney
You must take inventory of all your assets, which includes your
• Immovable and movable property
• Financial assets such as shares, bonds, insurance policies
• Business interests
After you have taken the stock of all your assets, name the beneficiaries to whom you wish to pass on your assets. You can make changes in your will any time; make sure to add details of the old will to avoid any ambiguity. You must also review your succession plan regularly, especially if you there is a change in your marital status or a new baby is born.

Determining how much insurance to get, at the most cost effective terms will help you get better value for money.

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Investments options available in India for NRIs and PIOs

Investment options available for NRIs

Investment options for NRIs

More and more NRI’s (Non Resident Indians) and PIOs (Person of Indian Origins) are investing in India in order to get higher returns on their investments as compared to the country they are living in. And the Government of India has also made it easy for NRIs and PIOs to invest in India. NRIs and PIOs are permitted to open bank accounts in India out of funds remitted from abroad, foreign exchange brought in from abroad or out of funds legitimately due to them in India, with authorized dealer.

What are the different types of accounts which can be maintained by an NRI/PIO in India?

If a person is NRI or PIO, she/he can, without the permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), open, hold and maintain the different types of accounts given below with an ‘Authorised Dealer’ in India, i.e. a bank authorised to deal in foreign exchangeNRO Savings accounts can also be maintained with the Post Offices in India. However, individuals/ entities of Bangladesh and Pakistan require prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.

Types of accounts which can be maintained by an NRI / PIO in India :

A. Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee Account (NRO Account)

NRO accounts may be opened / maintained in the form of current, savings, recurring or fixed deposit accounts.

● Savings Account – Normally maintained for crediting legitimate dues /earnings / income such as dividends, interest etc. Banks are free to determine the interest rates.

●  Term Deposits – Banks are free to determine the interest rates. However, theycannot be higher than those offered by them on comparable domestic rupee deposits.

● Account should be denominated in Indian Rupees.

● Permissible credits to NRO account are transfers from rupee accounts of non-resident banks, remittances received in permitted currency from outside India through normal banking channels, permitted currency tendered by account holder during his temporary visit to India, legitimate dues in India of the account holder like current income like rent, dividend, pension, interest, etc., sale proceeds of assets including immovable property acquired out of rupee/foreign currency funds or by way of legacy/ inheritance.

● Eligible debits such as all local payments in rupees including payments for investments as specified by the Reserve Bank and remittance outside India of current income like rent, dividend, pension, interest, etc., net of applicable taxes, of the account holder.

● NRI/PIO may remit from the balances held in NRO account an amount not exceeding USD one million per financial year, subject to payment of applicable taxes.

● The limit of USD 1 million per financial year includes sale proceeds of immovable properties held by NRIs/PIOs.

● The accounts may be held jointly with residents and / or with non-resident Indian.

● The NRO account holder may opt for nomination facility.

● NRO (current/savings) account can also be opened by a foreign national of non-Indian origin visiting India, with funds remitted from outside India through banking channel or by sale of foreign exchange brought by him to India.

● Loans to non-resident account holders and to third parties may be granted in Rupees by Authorized Dealer / bank against the security of fixed deposits subject to certain terms and conditions.

B. Non-Resident (External) Rupee Account (NRE Account)

● NRE account may be in the form of savings, current, recurring or fixed deposit accounts. Such accounts can be opened only by the non-resident himself and not through the holder of the power of attorney.

● NRIs as defined in Notification No. FEMA 5/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 may be permitted to open NRE account with their resident close relatives (relative as defined in Section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956) on ‘former or survivor ‘ basis.  The resident close relative shall be eligible to operate the account as a Power of Attorney holder in accordance with the extant instructions during the life time of the NRI/PIO account holder.

● Account will be maintained in Indian Rupees.

● Balances held in the NRE account are freely repatriable.

● Accrued interest income and balances held in NRE accounts are exempt from Income tax and Wealth tax, respectively.

● Authorised dealers/authorised banks may at their discretion/commercial judgement allow for a period of not more than two weeks, overdrawings in NRE savings bank accounts, up to a limit of Rs.50,000 subject to the condition that such overdrawings together with the interest payable thereon are cleared/repaid within a period of two weeks, out of inward remittances through normal banking channels or by transfer of funds from other NRE/FCNR accounts.

● Savings – Banks are free to determine the interest rates.

 Term deposits – Banks are free to determine the interest rates of term deposits of maturity of one year and above. Interest rates offered by banks on NRE deposits cannot be higher than those offered by them on comparable domestic rupee deposits.

● Permissible credits to NRE account are inward remittance to India in permitted currency, proceeds of account payee cheques, demand drafts / bankers’ cheques, issued against encashment of foreign currency, where the instruments issued to the NRE account holder are supported by encashment certificate issued by AD Category-I / Category-II, transfers from other NRE / FCNR accounts, sale proceeds of FDI investments, interest accruing on the funds held in such accounts, interest on Government securities/dividends on units of mutual funds purchased by debit to the NRE/FCNR(B) account of the holder, certain types of refunds, etc.

● Eligible debits are local disbursements, transfer to other NRE / FCNR accounts of person eligible to open such accounts, remittance outside India, investments in shares / securities/commercial paper of an Indian company, etc.

● Loans up to Rs.100 lakh can be extended against security of funds held in NRE Account either to the depositors or third parties.

● Such accounts can be operated through power of attorney in favour of residents for the limited purpose of withdrawal of local payments or remittances through normal banking channels to the account holder himself.

C. Foreign Currency Non Resident (Bank) Account – FCNR (B) Account

● FCNR (B) accounts are only in the form of term deposits of 1 to 5 years

● All debits / credits permissible in respect of NRE accounts, including credit of sale proceeds of FDI investments, are permissible in FCNR (B) accounts also.

● Account can be in any freely convertible currency.

● Loans up to Rs.100 lakh can be extended against security of funds held in FCNR (B) deposit either to the depositors or third parties.

● The interest rates are stipulated by the Department of Banking Operations and Development, Reserve Bank of India. In respect of FCNR (B) deposits of all maturities contracted effective from the close of business in India as on November 23, 2011, interest shall be paid within the ceiling rate of LIBOR/SWAP rates plus 125 basis points for the respective currency/corresponding maturities (as against LIBOR/SWAP rates plus 100 basis points effective from close of business on November 15, 2008). On floating rate deposits, interest shall be paid within the ceiling of SWAP rates for the respective currency/maturity plus 125 basis points. For floating rate deposits, the interest reset period shall be six months.

● When an account holder becomes a person resident in India, deposits may be allowed to continue till maturity at the contracted rate of interest, if so desired by him.

● NRI can open joint account with a resident close relative (relative as defined in Section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956) on former or survivor basis. The resident close relative will be eligible to operate the account as a Power of Attorney holder in accordance with extant instructions during the life time of the NRI/ PIO account holder.

Can an individual resident Indian borrow money from his close relative outside India ?

Yes, an individual resident Indian can borrow sum not exceeding USD 250,000 or its equivalent from his close relatives staying outside India, subject to the conditions that:

  1. the minimum maturity period of the loan is one year;
  2. the loan is free of interest; and
  3. the amount of loan is received by inward remittance in free foreign exchange through normal banking channels or by debit to the NRE/FCNR(B) account of the NRI.

Can an individual resident lend money to his close relative NRI / PIO?

Yes, an individual resident can lend money by way of crossed cheque /electronic transfer within the overall limit of USD 200,000 per financial year under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme, to meet the borrower’s personal or business requirements in India, subject to conditions. The loan should be interest free and have a maturity of minimum one year and cannot be remitted outside India.

Can an individual resident repay loans of close relative NRIs to banks in India?

Yes, where an authorised dealer in India has granted loan to a non-resident Indian such loans may also be repaid by resident close relative (relative as defined in Section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956), of the Non-Resident Indian by crediting the borrower’s loan account through the bank account of such relative.

What are the other facilities available to NRIs / PIO?

A. Investment facilities for NRIs :

NRI may, without limit, purchase on repatriation basis:

● Government dated securities / Treasury bills

● Units of domestic mutual funds;

● Bonds issued by a public sector undertaking (PSU) in India.

● Non-convertible debentures of a company incorporated in India.

● Perpetual debt instruments and debt capital instruments issued by banks in India.

● Shares in Public Sector Enterprises being dis-invested by the Government of India, provided the purchase is in accordance with the terms and conditions stipulated in the notice inviting bids.

● Shares and convertible debentures of Indian companies under the FDI scheme (including automatic route & FIPB), subject to the terms and conditions specified in Schedule 1 to the FEMA Notification No. 20/2000- RB dated May 3, 2000, as amended from time to time.

● Shares and convertible debentures of Indian companies through stock exchange under Portfolio Investment Scheme, subject to the terms and conditions specified in Schedule 3 to the FEMA Notification No. 20/2000- RB dated May 3, 2000, as amended from time to time.

NRI may, without limit, purchase on non-repatriation basis :

● Government dated securities / Treasury bills

● Units of domestic mutual funds

● Units of Money Market Mutual Funds

● National Plan/Savings Certificates

● Non-convertible debentures of a company incorporated in India

● Shares and convertible debentures of Indian companies through stock exchange under Portfolio Investment Scheme, subject to the terms and conditions specified in Schedules 3 and 4 to the FEMA Notification No. 20/2000- RB dated May 3, 2000, as amended from time to time.

● Exchange traded derivative contracts approved by the SEBI, from time to time, out of INR funds held in India on non-­repatriable basis, subject to the limits prescribed by the SEBI.

Note : NRIs are not permitted to invest in small savings or Public Provident Fund (PPF).

B. Investment in Immovable Property

● NRI / PIO / Foreign National, who is a person resident in India (citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan would require prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India), may acquire immovable property in India other than agricultural land/ plantation property or a farm house out of repatriable and / or non-repatriable funds.

● The payment of purchase price, if any, should be made out of

(i) funds received in India through normal banking channels by way of inward remittance from any place outside India or

(ii) funds held in any non-resident account maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the regulations made by the Reserve Bank of India.

Note : No payment of purchase price for acquisition of immovable property shall be made either by traveller’s cheque or by foreign currency notes or by other mode other than those specifically permitted as above.

● NRI may acquire any immovable property in India other than agricultural land / farm house plantation property, by way of gift from a person resident in India or from a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or from a person of Indian origin resident outside India

● NRI may acquire any immovable property in India by way of inheritance from a person resident outside India who had acquired such property in accordance with the provisions of the foreign exchange law in force at the time of acquisition by him or the provisions of these Regulations or from a person resident in India

● After the purchase is made, it is required to file a declaration in form IPI 7 with the Central Office of Reserve Bank at Mumbai within a period of 90 days from the date of purchase of immovable property or final payment of purchase consideration along with a certified copy of the document evidencing the transaction and bank certificate regarding the consideration paid.

● An NRI may transfer any immovable property in India to a person resident in India.

● NRI may transfer any immovable property other than agricultural or plantation property or farm house to a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or to a person of Indian origin resident outside India.

In respect of such investments, NRIs are eligible to repatriate:

● The sale proceeds of immovable property in India if the property was acquired out of foreign exchange sources i.e. remitted through normal banking channels / by debit to NRE / FCNR (B) account.

● The amount to be repatriated should not exceed the amount paid for the property in foreign exchange received through normal banking channel or by debit to NRE account (foreign currency equivalent, as on the date of payment) or debit to FCNR (B) account.

● In the event of sale of immovable property, other than agricultural land / farm house / plantation property in India, by a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India  / PIO, the repatriation of sale proceeds is restricted to not more than two residential properties subject to certain conditions. The balance amount of sale proceeds if any or sale proceeds in respect of properties purchased prior to 26th May 1993, will have to be credited to the ordinary non resident rupee account of the owner of the property. Applications for necessary permission for remittance of sale proceeds should be made in form IPI 8 to the Central Office of Reserve Bank at Mumbai within 90 days of the sale of the property.

● If the property was acquired out of Rupee sources, NRI or PIO may remit an amount up to USD one million per financial year out of the balances held in the NRO account (inclusive of sale proceeds of assets acquired by way of inheritance or settlement), for all the bonafide purposes to the satisfaction of the Authorized Dealer bank and subject to tax compliance.

● Refund of (a) application / earnest money / purchase consideration made by house-building agencies/seller on account of non-allotment of flats / plots and (b) cancellation of booking/deals for purchase of residential/commercial properties, together with interest, net of taxes, provided original payment is made out of NRE/FCNR (B) account/inward remittances.

Repayment of Housing Loan of NRI / PIOs by close relatives of the borrower in India

Housing Loan in rupees availed of by NRIs/ PIOs from ADs / Housing Financial Institutions in India can be repaid by the close relatives in India of the borrower.

C. Investment under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS)

NRIs and PIOs are permitted purchase or sale of equity shares / CCPS / CCDs of Indian companies listed on Indian stock exchanges through a registered broker, subject to the following conditions:

● The total paid-up value of shares or convertible debentures purchased by an NRI both on a repatriation and non-repatriation basis does not exceed 5% of the paid-up value of the Indian company’s shares

● The aggregate paid-up value of shares or convertible debentures purchased by all NRIs in the Indian company does not exceed 10% of the paid-up value of the Indian company. The ceiling of 10% can be raised to 24% through a special resolution.

The sale proceeds of equity shares / CCPS / CCDs are permitted to be credited by the NRI to:

● His / her NRO account where the purchase was made out of the funds held in his Non Resident ordinary (NRO) account or where the purchase was on non-repatriation basis

● His / her NRE/FCNR/NRO account where the purchase was on a repatriation basis.

D. Facilities to returning NRIs/PIOs

● Returning NRIs/PIOs may continue to hold, own, transfer or invest in foreign currency, foreign security or any immovable property situated outside India, if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned when resident outside India

● The income and sale proceeds of assets held abroad need not be repatriated.

Foreign Currency Account

● A person resident in India who has gone abroad for studies or who is on a visit to a foreign country may open, hold and maintain a Foreign Currency Account with a bank outside India during his stay outside India, provided that on his return to India, the balance in the account is repatriated to India. However, short visits to India by the student who has gone abroad for studies, before completion of his studies, shall not be treated as his return to India.

● A person resident in India who has gone out of India to participate in an exhibition/trade fair outside India may open, hold and maintain a Foreign Currency Account with a bank outside India for crediting the sale proceeds of goods on display in the exhibition/trade fair. However, the balance in the account is repatriated to India through normal banking channels within a period of one month from the date of closure of the exhibition/trade fair.

Resident Foreign Currency Account

● Returning NRIs /PIOs may open, hold and maintain with an authorised dealer in India a Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) Account to transfer balances held in NRE/FCNR(B) accounts.

● Proceeds of assets held outside India at the time of return can be credited to RFC account.

● The funds in RFC accounts are free from all restrictions regarding utilisation of foreign currency balances including any restriction on investment in any form outside India.

● RFC accounts can be maintained in the form of current or savings or term deposit accounts, where the account holder is an individual and in the form of current or term deposits in all other cases.

RFC accounts are permitted to be held jointly with the resident close relative(s) as defined in the Companies Act, 1956 as joint holder (s) in their RFC bank account on ‘former or survivor basis’. However, such resident Indian close relative, now being made eligible to become joint account holder shall not be eligible to operate the account during the life time of the resident account holder.

General facilities

Can Exchange Earners Foreign Currency (EEFC) accounts be held jointly with a -resident Indian?

Yes, EEFC account of a resident individual can be held jointly with a resident close relative on a ‘former or survivor’ basis.

However, such resident Indian close relative will not be eligible to operate the account during the life time of the resident account holder.

Can a resident individual holding a savings bank account include nonresident close relative as a joint account holder?

Yes, individuals resident in India are permitted to include non-resident close relative(s) as a joint holder(s) in their resident bank accounts on ‘former or survivor’ basis. However, such non- resident Indian close relatives shall not be eligible to operate the account during the life time of the resident account holder.

Can a resident individual gift shares/securities/convertible debentures etc to NRI close relative?

Yes, a resident individual is permitted to gift shares/securities/convertible debentures etc to NRI close relative up to USD 50,000 per financial year subject to certain conditions.

Can a resident individual give rupee gifts to his visiting NRI/PIO close relatives?

Yes, a resident individual can give rupee gifts to his visiting NRI/PIO close relatives by way of crossed cheque/electronic transfer within the overall limit of USD 200,000 per financial year for the resident individual and the gifted amount should be credited to the beneficiary’s NRO account.

What types of services can be provided by a resident individual to his / her nonresident close relatives?

A resident may make payment in rupees towards meeting expenses on account of boarding, lodging and services related thereto or travel to and from and within India of a person resident outside India who is on a visit to India. Further, where the medical expenses in respect of NRI close relative are paid by a resident individual, such a payment being in the nature of a resident to resident transaction may also be covered under the term “services”.

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Mistakes we should not make with our money

There are some financial mistakes we should not make, especially during these uncertain times. Some of the mistakes can cost a lot of damage, immediately and over a period of time on your financial health.

Holding back your investment decisions
Dont wait till tomorrow to start investing. In fact this is perfect time to start investing gradually. With whatever money you have. Best is to start with a SIP (Systematic Investment Plan).
Stock markets have corrected nearly 20% from its peak. And bank fixed Deposit (FD) interest rates are on average 9.5% to 10%. So pick your stock, best mutual fund and other financial instruments as per your risk appetite, time frame and investment objective.
Start investing for future. If you do not do it now, the best times will run out soon.

Spending more than you earn
So you cant avoid the temptation of upto 50% off. It does make sense if you prepone your purchases and save some money during the festive discount period. But what if you buy stuff which you actually do not NEED, and empty your pocket.
Most of our financial problems start when you spend more than you earn. You become an impulsive buyer and start spending on just about everything by taking loans.

Have a budget for almost everything. And keep a track on what you spend, and what you earn, so that you get a fair understanding on what you have and where your money is going.
Do not avoid taking tough decisions. If you have to cut down on some expenses this month because you overshot your budget last month, Do So.

Defaulting on loans
Do not default on your loans. Defaulting on loans will impact your credit rating. And it will impact your future credit standing for taking loans.
And if you default on your credit cards, you will not only downgrade your credit rating, but you might also be charged upto 38% annually on your outstanding amounts on credit card. Some times it is not so easy to discuss discuss with your spouse on the necessity of cutting down on expenses. But you have to do it. For a better tomorrow for both of you.

Feeling Poor
Stop feeling poor or sorry about yourself. If you feel that the world is conspiring to make you poor, it is likely to come true. Start thinking good about your money, finances and future. The tomorrow will be much better than today.

And lastly do not forget to review your financial standing on a regular basis. If not more, than atleast once a year. You may find a shift in your risk profile, some avoidable expenses and better investment opportunities.

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