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Jayalalithaa: Will or not, there is a long legal battle ahead

By Vicky

Chennai, Dec 9: There is Rs 113 crore worth of assets which is at stake following the death of Jayalalithaa. Who will inherit these assets? Legal experts say that this is bound to be a contentious issue and one is likely to witness many a legal battle before the issue is finally settled.

Jaya: Will there be a legal battle?

Even if there is a Will prepared by Jayalalithaa, it is bound to be challenged. Sources had indicated that Amma had prepared a Will two years ago which stated that the Poes Garden residence would be inherited by Sasikala Natarajan, her close aide.

It is however unclear whether there have been any changes made to the Will. One would need to examine the various possibilities and likely legal battles over the assets that Jayalalithaa owned. A long legal battle in the making: If there is no Will, then there would be many claimants to the assets.

Lawyers would then have to then sit with blood relatives of Amma and the other stake holders and decide on the distribution of the assets. This in itself would be a tough exercise since the blood relatives are likely to oppose any claim made by Sasikala.

If there is a Will, then the assets would be distributed accordingly. However, legal experts say that the Will is unlikely to be executed immediately. The first contention that would be raised is about the genuineness of the Will.

The question whether this is a free Will or not will come under challenge. Jayalalithaa's relatives are unlikely to give into Sasikala, considering she is not a blood relative. The matter would be then be taken to the Madras high court in the form of an application. There would be a public notice put out to find out if there are any claimants to the assets.

Who gets Poes Garden: The Poes Garden residence, Veda Nilayam spread across over 24,000 square feet will be a bone of contention. Sources incidicate that Jayalalithaa had Willed this property to Sasikala. However this too can be challenged because the property is ancestral in nature. Since the property was purchased jointly by Jayalalithaa and her mother it becomes ancestral property.

This means that the next of kin or Jayalalithaa's blood relatives can stake a claim to this property. It will not be easy for Sasikala to take over this property even if there is a Will in her favour, legal experts explain. In the case of partnership firms the same would be decided as per the partnership deed. In the event of one of the partners dying, the partnership gets dissolved and the share goes to the legal heirs. However as per Jayalalithaa's Will these firms would be inherited by the surviving partner.

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