Inheritance Rights in India -

Inheritance Rights in India

The Inheritance Rights is devolution of the property, titles, rights, debts, and obligations to another person on the death of a person. A person can succeed or inherit one’s property in two ways:

  • By a will (testamentary succession)- The person who makes the will is called as the testator and an individual in whose favour the will is made is named the legatee.
  • Through laws of intestate succession- In case a person dies without making a will then his property is devolved among his heirs through the laws of intestate succession.

Laws that govern inheritance in India

Different laws are applicable based on types of succession and religion. These include-

  • Hindu Succession Act-The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is applicable on succession without a will (intestate succession) among Hindus. It also applies to Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.
  • Indian Succession Act- The Indian Succession Act, 1925 applies to a testamentary succession of Hindus, that is a transfer of property by a will. A person can transfer his own property to any person he wants by getting a will made. A property lawyer in India can help you to draft a will for your self-acquired property.

Types of Property

Under the Indian Property laws, the following sorts of family property are recognized in India:

Joint Family property- Property and land inherited by a Hindu from his father, father’s father or father’s fathers’ father, is named as a joint family property. The family has a shared ancestor. It is not a separate entity and has perpetual existence.

Self-acquired property- If an individual acquires a property himself and the property and land do not belong to the estate of his father, and then such property is known as self-acquired property.

Separate property- When a person acquires property from any other relation, which is not subjected to be treated as joint family property is described as a separate property.

Inheritance Rights of Children

A son and daughter have a right by birth in his father’s and grandfather’s property. He/she has equal rights with his father and other family members in his grandfather’s ancestral property.

In case of his father’s self-acquired or separate property, if the father dies without leaving behind a will, then the son and daughter being a Class I heir will have equal rights with his living mother, grandmother and brother or sister.

An illegitimate son or daughter is not entitled to get a share in his father’s property and land. A posthumous baby, who is in the womb of the mother at the time of the death of the father, is authorized to a share in his father’s property. The only condition involved is that he should be alive on his birth.

Daughter’s Inheritance Rights in India

Until 2005, the property rights of son and daughter were different. Only an unmarried daughter had a right to the ancestral property. But post-2005, a daughter has similar rights and duties that a son has. She has an equal right or shares in the inherited property.

In case of the father’s self-acquired or separate property, if the father dies without leaving behind a will, the daughter being a Class I heir will have equal rights with his living mother, grandmother and sister or brother.

Inheritance Rights of Grandchildren

A grandchild, both grandson, and granddaughter have an equal share with their father in their grandfather’s ancestral property. In case of grandfather’s self-acquired or separate property, a grandson will have an inheritance right only when his father predeceased his grandfather.

Rights of a Spouse

A wife has no property right in the ancestral property. Hence, a widow has no property right over husband’s inherited property. She being a Class I heir, will only have a right in the self-acquired property and land of her husband. A widowed mom also has a right in her son’s property and land.

Inheritance Rights of an Adopted Child

The inheritance property rights of an adopted child are same as that of a natural born. Upon adoption, a baby loses his rights in the biological family however if a property vest in him before the adoption, then the property will continue to be in his name.