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Report No. 110

Chapter 30

Legacies to Creditors and Portioners (Sections 177 to 179)

30.1. Scope of the chapter and departure from English law.-

Legacies to creditors and portioners form the subject-matter of section 177 to 179. Before discussing the gist of sections 177 to 179, it would be worthwhile to point out that the provisions of these sections depart from the English law, and that the departure is deliberate and justified. The rule in England is that where a bequest is given to a person who is a creditor of the testator, then, in the absence of an intention to the contrary, the bequest is regarded as given in "satisfaction" of the pre-existing debt, that is to say, it is regarded as an extinguishment of the existing claim, and not as a separate legacy.

This rule of equity is known as "satisfaction of debts by legacies". Similarly, in England, where a "portion" or part of a person's estate agreed to be given to a child is followed by a legacy to that child, the rule that equity leans against double portions is attracted. In the absence of an intention to the contrary, the presumption of equity is that the bequest is in satisfaction of the portion agreed to be given to the child. The presumption is based on the improbability of a parent intending a double portion for one child to the prejudice of other children.

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 Back

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