The Constitution of India has many provisions to protect the rights and interests of women. One of these being the Married Women’s Property Act. Let’s try understanding this act and the benefits it provides a little better.
Imagine this scenario, a 40-year-old woman with 3 daughters realizes her husband’s business is running in a loss. He would need a huge loan to help revive it, but he has an insurance policy that is about to mature so the loan will be covered in that and this tough time will pass. But what if things don’t go planned way? What if the business goes bankrupt and the family is left with nothing? Now their greatest hope the policy will also be seized by the creditors. What could she do now? A commonly heard story, isn’t it? To ensure that this isn’t your story you need to know about this act.
What is this Act?
According to the Married Women’s Property Act the earnings of a married woman in India is considered as her separate property (from the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir). An insurance amendment was added in it in 1923 which made the act life insurance relevant. The amendment states that the earnings from the husband’s life insurance policy may not be controlled by the husband, his creditors and not form a part of his estate. This means that if a married man buys a policy with a MWP addendum, the policy cannot be used to repay his debts or any other liability.
So, then you might ask who benefits from this act? The answer is in the name of the act itself. It benefits the man’s wife and protects her interests. The beneficiaries under this act include their children as well. The policy holder (the man) can also select one or more trustees. These can include any institution or the beneficiaries.
Why buying life insurance under this act is beneficial?
Every policy under this act is considered as a distinct trust. The policy holder can change the trustees at any given time. The beneficiaries however cannot be changed once they have been declared. This act helps the beneficiaries greatly as it cannot be used by the policy holder to take a loan. Which means that the husband cannot borrow money from the bank on the basis of the policy with the MWP addendum.
In case of the sudden demise of the policy holder the earnings or proceeds received from the policy will go directly to the beneficiaries i.e. the wife and children and cannot be seized by the debtors. This safeguards the policy holder’s wife and children. The policy is of great help to business families. As many times in business when there is a major loss a huge loan is taken keeping most of the property and assets as leverage. If the loan isn’t paid the bank or creditor has complete right to seize these assets.
The MWP Act on a life insurance policy ensures that the wife and children of the policy holder are protected in the case of such an incident. The returns from this policy are received only by them and can help them lead a respectful life without having to depend on anyone else.
Loans cannot be taken based on a policy with the MWP addendum. The husband has no control on the policy and is forced to pay the instalments or premium. The beneficiaries cannot be changed.
Many people are not aware of this addendum and this lack of awareness keeps many from availing the benefits of the policy. It will help women all over India if used well. This protects their interest above all else and ensures that they aren’t manipulated into doing anything against their will. It is strongly recommended that all married men get a life insurance policy under the MWP addendum to secure the future of their wives and children in case of any mishaps.