Inheritance of Property

  • Can a property lose its ancestral character? If yes, how?

    Once an ancestral property is divided, the share of each legal heir is his or her own self acquired property. Further, property inherited by either a will or a gift are not ancestral properties. Moreover, self acquired property can become ancestral property if it is thrown into the pool of ancestral properties and enjoyed in common. It should also be kept in mind that properties inherited from your mother, grandmother, uncle and even your brother cannot be ancestral properties. Illustration: Property gifted by a father to his son could not become ancestral property in the hands of the son simply by reason of the fact that he got it from his father.

  • What is the proprietary position of female in Shia Muslim law?

    Under Shia law, a daughter in the absence of a son inherits as a sharer. If there is only one daughter or only one descendant of such daughter, she will take 1⁄2 of the property and if there are two or more than two descendants they take 2/3 of the property. With the son a daughter inherits as a residuary and takes a share that is equal to half of his share. As the rights of agnates are not recognised, the daughter gets a higher share under the Shia law. If the deceased left behind a mother, daughter and a brother under the Shia scheme, the mother gets one-fourth and the daughter three-fourths of the estate.

  • What are the laws applicable to the inheritance (without a Will) of a Christain or Jew?

    Indian Succession Act, 1925 specifically under section 31 to 49 of the Act.

  • What is ancestral property?

    An ancestral property is a property acquired by your great grandfather which has been passed down from generation to generation (your grandfather and father) up to the present generation (you) without being divided or partitioned by the family. Therefore, the property should be four generations old and should not have been divided or partitioned by the previous three generations for the property to qualify as your ancestral property.

  • Are there any statutes that apply to Christains as far as inheritance is concerned?

    The Indian Succession Act of 1865 is applicable to Christians in India.

  • How does inheritance takes place under Muslim law?

    There is no concept of ancestral property or right of inheritance by birth in Islamic law. Muslim law recognised that persons may leave behind a will, but a will (unless ratified by all the heirs of the person leaving behind the will) is valid only to the extent of 1/3rd of the deceased’s property. Insofar as it is valid, it is governed by the regular laws applicable to wills in India.

  • What is the proprietary position of female in Sunni Muslim law?

    Under Sunni law, the daughter is a residuary with a son, so that in the residue her share will be half of his share. But in the absence of a son her position is that of a sharer and a single daughter takes 1⁄2 and two or more daughters share 2/3 of the estate. If the deceased left behind a mother, daughter and a brother, under the Hanafi scheme the mother gets one-sixth, the daughter half and the brother one-third.

  • What are the laws applicable to the inheritance (without a Will) of a Hindu?

    Laws of succession applicable to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhist; for the non-testamentary or intestate succession/inheritance, the governing law is the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

  • Why is it important to determine whether a property that may form part of a inheritance is either self acquired or ancestral?

    Identifying a property that may form part of an inheritance as either self acquired or ancestral is crucial as the law treats both types of properties very differently. Identifying a property as either self acquired or ancestral will help you to plan how your estate would be inherited by your heirs. On the other hand, as a legal heir this would also allow you to identify your rightful share in the family estate.

  • Can someone be disqualified from inheriting property?

    A person is disqualified from inheriting the property of a person he has murdered or helped to murder. Further, if children convert to another religion then the grandchildren will be disqualified from the inheritance unless the grandchildren convert back to hinduism.

  • Are there any specific rules that apply only to properties left behind by women?

    A property left behind by a woman should be divided equally among her children and her husband. If a child had already passed away, then that child’s share would be divided between his children. If there is no surviving spouse, child or grandchild, then the property should be divided between her parents. If her parents have also passed away then the property would be divided between the heirs of her parents.

  • Who all are included in Class II heir?

    1. Father 2. Son’s daughter’s son/daughter; Brother; Sister 3. Daughter’s son’s son’s/daughter; Daughter’s daughter’s son/daughter 4. Brother’s son; Sister’s son; Brother’s daughter; Sister’s Daughter 5. Father’s father; Father’s mother 6. Father’s widow; Brother’s widow 7. Father’s brother; Father’s sister 8. Mother’s Father; Mother’s mother 9. Mother’s brother; Mother’s sisteR

  • How is the share in ancestral property calculated?

    The rights of heirs in ancestral property are determined per stripes and not per capita. This essentially means that the share of each generation is first determined and the successive generations in turn subdivide what has been inherited by their respective predecessor.

  • How does inheritance take place for a Christian if there are no children or grand children?

    Half the property will go to the Widow and the remaining half will be divided between his kindred relations which includes blood relatives born of lawful marriages.

  • What are the laws applicable to the inheritance (without a Will) of a Parsi?

    Indian Succession Act, 1925 specifically under section 50 to 56 of the Act.

  • Can illegitimate children inherit property?

    Illegitimate children can only inherit self acquired property and will have no share in the ancestral property left behind.

  • How will my property be inherited if I die without leaving a will?

    When a person dies without leaving a will, the rules of succession (or inheritance) have to be followed to distribute the deceased person’s property among his legal heirs. The rules of succession determine who the heirs of a deceased and what their share would be in the inheritance. Note: The term ‘property’ refers to immovable property, unless stated otherwise.

  • What are the laws applicable to the inheritance (without a Will) of a Muslim?

    The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937

  • What are the laws applicable to the inheritance (without a Will) of heris from an inter-fait marriage?

    Special Marriage Act, 1954.

  • Do the same rules of succession and inheritance apply to everyone?

    In India, the rules of succession differ between religions. Therefore succession works differently for Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews and Parsis. However, the rules of Hindu succession are also applied to Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and any other person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion. Note: The rules of succession detailed here apply specifically to Hindus, unless stated otherwise.

  • What is self acquired property?

    Self acquired property is the property that you have purchased from your own income. As far as your self acquired property is concerned, you are free to dispose of it in any manner you like.

  • Which of my properties can be inherited by my heirs?

    Property of all forms can be inherited by your legal heirs. This would include not only your self acquired property but also your share in the ancestral property of your family.

  • How does inheritance take place for Muslims?

    Under Musil law, each person has a fixed share in the property. The share of the person will depend on how many survivors are left. These rules differ between Shias and Sunnis.

  • What rights do women have in an inheritance?

    Initially, women were denied a share in an inheritance of property and the law gave preference to the sons. However, a daughter now has an equal right in the property left behind by their fathers. This however only applies to properties left behind after 2005. Therefore, if a person had passed away before 2005, the daughter cannot claim an equal share in the property. She is however entitled to a certain amount of maintenance if she is unmarried. At present, a daughter has the same rights in the property of her father on par with a son.

  • How is ancestral property different from self acquired property?

    Your right to a share in your ancestral property is given to you by the mere fact of your being born. Your share in your ancestral property cannot be taken away. This is unlike other forms of inheritance, where inheritance opens only on the death of the owner of the property.For example, your father may exclude you from the inheritance of his self acquired property. However, he is barred from doing this as far as your share in ancestral property is concerned.

  • Who all are included in Class I heir?

    1. Son 2. Daughter 3. Widow 4. Mother 5. Son of predeceased son 6. Daughter of predeceased son 7. Son of predeceased daughter 8. Daughter of predeceased daughter 9. Widow of predeceased son 10. Son of predeceased son of a predeceased son 11. Daughter of predeceased son of a predeceased son 12. Widow of predeceased son of a predeceased son 13. Son of predeceased daughter of a predeceased daughter 14. Daughter of predeceased daughter of a predeceased daughter 15. Daughter of predeceased son of a predeceased daughter 16. Daughter of predeceased daughter of a predeceased son

  • How does inheritance take place for Christians?

    If a Christian dies without leaving a Will, one third of his property will go to his widow and the remaining two thirds will be divided among his lineal descendants which includes his children and grandchildren. Lineal descendants must be born out of lawful marriages to be entitled to a share in the property.

  • Can a child who is in the womb inherit property?

    A child who is still in the womb when a relative dies will have a share in the inheritance after it is born. Such a child will be treated as if it had been born before the relative leaving behind the property had died.

  • Can a widow inherit property if she has remarried?

    If either your son, grandson or brother have left behind a widow, then yes she will be able to claim a share in the property even if she has remarried.



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