Forfeiting onerous bequests

My father was a Christian who died testate after he bequeathed me two houses. One of those houses is encumbered as he died before liquidating a loan he had taken from one of the commercial banks. He stated in the Will that the legatees of encumbered legacies should fulfill the respective obligations in case he dies before fulfilling them. I don’t want to get into hassles with the bank. Can I opt to get the unencumbered house and forfeit the onerous one?
AC, Dodoma

Your bequest of two houses is conditional. Conditional bequest is a term added to a gift before the recipient can collect the gift. Conditional bequests usually appear in Wills and trusts for people wanting to place requirements on inheritances. These conditions can be almost anything imaginable as long as they do not violate public policy.

Section 109 of the Indian Succession Act, a law which governs inheritances of Christians, states that where a bequest imposes obligations on the legatee, he can take nothing by it unless he accepts it fully. Thus, based on that provision, you cannot choose to take the unencumbered house and leave the encumbered one. Since you want to avoid the hassles with banks, you should also forfeit the full bequest, meaning both houses, and not otherwise. Your father’s condition in a Will does not violate any public policy, hence it is implementable.