• Inheritance & Succession: Under Hindu Succession Act, 1956

  • General rules of succession in the case of males 

     The property of a male Hindu dying intestate shall devolve in the following manner:-

    1. firstly, upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class I of the Schedule;
    2. secondly, if there is no heir of class I, then upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class II of the Schedule;
    3. thirdly, if there is no heir of any of the two classes, then upon the agnates of the deceased; and
    4. lastly, if there is no agnate, then upon the cognates of the deceased.

    Heirs In Class-I 

    Son; daughter; widow; mother; son of a pre-deceased son; daughter of a pre-deceased son; son of a pre-deceased daughter; daughter of a pre-deceased daughter; widow of a pre-deceased son; son of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son; daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son; widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son.

    Heirs In Class-II

    1. Father.
    2. (1)Son’s daughter’s son, (2) son’s daughter’s daughter, (3) brother, (4) sister.
    3. (1) Daughter’s son’s son, (2) daughter’s son’s daughter, (3) daughter’s daughter’s son, (4) daughter’s daughter’s daughter.
    4. (1) Brother’s son, (2) sister’s son, (3) brother’s daughter, (4) 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.

    References to a brother or sister do not include references to a brother or sister by uterine blood

    Among the heirs, those in class I shall take simultaneously and to the exclusion of all other heirs; those in the first entry in class II shall be preferred to those in the second entry; those in the second entry shall be preferred to those in the third entry; and so on in succession.

    Distribution of property among heirs in class I of the Schedule

    The property of an intestate shall be divided among the heirs in class I as follows:- 

    1. The intestate’s widow shall take one share.
    2. The surviving sons and daughters and the mother of the intestate shall each take one share.
    3. The heirs in the branch of each pre-deceased son or each pre-deceased daughter of the intestate shall take between them one share.

    Distribution of property among heirs in class II of the Schedule

    The property of an intestate shall be divided between the heirs specified in any one entry in class-II so that they share equally.

    Property of a female Hindu to be her absolute property

    Any property possessed by a Female Hindu, whether acquired before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be held by her as full owner thereof and not as a limited owner.

    The "property" includes both movable and immovable property acquired by a female Hindu by inheritance or devise, or at a partition, or in lieu of maintenance or arrears of maintenance, or by gift from any person, whether a relative or not, before, at or after her marriage, or by her own skill or exertion, or by purchase or by prescription, or in any other manner whatsoever, and also any such property held by her as stridhana.

    However, the aforementioned law is not applicable to any property acquired by way of gift or under a will or any other instrument or under a decree or order of a civil court or under an award where the terms of the gift, will or other instrument or the decree, order or award prescribe a restricted estate in such property.

    General rules of succession in the case of female Hindus

    1. firstly, upon the sons and daughters (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) and the husband;
    2. secondly, upon the heirs of the husband;
    3. thirdly, upon the mother and father;
    4. fourthly, upon the heirs of the father; and
    5. lastly, upon the heirs of the mother.

    Full blood preferred to half-blood

    Heirs related to an intestate by full blood shall be preferred to heirs related by half blood, if the nature of the relationship is the same in every other respect.

    Right of child in womb

    A child who was in the womb at the time of death of an intestate and who is subsequently born alive has the same right to inherit to the intestate as if he or she had been born before the death of the intestate, and the inheritance shall be deemed to vest in such a case with effect from the date of the death of the intestate.

    Presumption in cases of simultaneous deaths

    Where two persons have died in circumstances rendering it uncertain whether either of them, and if so which, survived the other, then for all purposes affecting succession to property, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the younger survived the elder.

    Preferential right to acquire property in certain cases

    Where interest in any immovable property of an intestate, or in any business carried on by him or her, whether solely or in conjunction with others, devolve upon to two or more heirs specified in class I of the Schedule, and any one of such heirs proposes to transfer his or her interest in the property or business, the other heirs shall have a preferential right to acquire the interest proposed to be transferred.

    The consideration for which any interest in the property of the deceased may be transferred under this section shall, in the absence of any agreement between the parties, be determined by the court on application being made to it in this behalf, and if any person proposing to acquire the interest is not willing to acquire it for the consideration so determined, such person shall be liable to pay all costs of or incident to the application.

    If there are two or more heirs specified in class I of the Schedule proposing to acquire any interest under this section, that heir who offers the highest consideration for the transfer shall be preferred.

    Special provision respecting dwelling houses

    Where a Hindu intestate has left surviving him or her both male and female heirs in class I and his or her property includes a dwelling-house wholly occupied by members of his or her family, then, the right of any such female heir to claim partition of the dwelling-house shall not arise until the male heirs choose to divide their respective shares therein; but the female heir shall be entitled to a right of residence therein:

    Where such female heir is a daughter, she shall be entitled to a right of residence in the dwelling-house only if she is unmarried or has been deserted by or has separated from her husband or is a widow.

    Certain widows remarrying may not inherit as widows

    Any heir who is related to an intestate as the widow of a pre-deceased son, the widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son or the widow of a brother shall not be entitled to succeed to the property of the intestate as such widow, if on the date the succession opens, she has re-married.

    Murderer disqualified

    A person who commits murder or abets the commission of murder shall be disqualified from inheriting the property of the person murdered, or any other property in furtherance of the succession to which he or she committed or abetted the commission of the murder.

    Convert’s descendants disqualified

    Where a Hindu has ceased or ceases to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion, children born to him or her after such conversion and their descendants shall be disqualified from inheriting the property of any of their Hindu relatives, unless such children or descendants are Hindus at the time when the succession opens.

    Succession when heir disqualified

    If any person is disqualified from inheriting any property under this Act, it shall devolve as if such person had died before the intestate.

    Disease, defect, etc. not to disqualify

    No person shall be disqualified from succeeding to any property on the ground of any disease, defect or deformity, or save as provided in this Act, on any other ground whatsoever.

    Failure of heirs

    If an intestate has left no heir qualified to succeed to his or her property in accordance with the provisions of this Act, such property shall devolve on the government; and the government shall take the property subject to all the obligations and liabilities to which an heir would have been subjected.

    Testamentary succession

    Any Hindu may dispose of by will or other testamentary disposition any property, which is capable of being so disposed of by him, in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, or any other law for the time being in force and applicable to Hindus.

    Definitions and interpretations of the related Legal Terms

    "agnate" - One person is said to be an "agnate" of another if the two are related by blood or adoption wholly through males;

    "cognate" - One person is said to be a cognate of another if the two are related by blood or adoption but not wholly through males;

    "full blood" & "half-blood"- Two persons are said to be related to each other by full blood when they are descended from a common ancestor by the same wife, and by half-blood when they are descended from a common ancestor but by different wives;

    "uterine blood"- Two persons are said to be related to each other by uterine blood when they are descended from a common ancestress but by different husbands;

    "ancestor" includes the father and "ancestress" the mother,

    "heir" means any person, male or female, who is entitled to succeed to the property of an intestate under this Act;

    "intestate" - a person is deemed to die intestate in respect of property of which he or she has not made a testamentary disposition capable of taking effect;

     "related" means related by legitimate kinship:

    Illegitimate children, hoever, shall be deemed to be related to their mother and to one another, and their legitimate descendants shall be deemed to be related to them and to one another; and any word expressing relationship or denoting a relative shall be construed accordingly.

    Words imparting the masculine gender shall not be taken to include females.

    The captioned subject is complex by its very nature. We, therefore, always encourage our visitors & Clients to seek an independent legal advice by our empanelled lawyers. In such Cases, our lawyers devise most appropriate legal recourse for our Clients after examining the related provisions of law, i.e. The Indian Succession Act, 1925, The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, The Limitation Act, 1963, The Evidence Act, 1872, Other  relevant Acts & Judgments and Citations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court Of India and the High Courts. Even otherwise, the question as to how to apply the laws, judgments and citations is rather more complex, as it involves a thorough examination of substantial laws, procedural laws and Court precedents in a given set of facts and circumstances.

    Kindly CLICK HERE or e-mail us at office@hellocounsel.com if you are facing any Legal Issue and want to have Legal Consultations with the empanelled Lawyers at Hello Counsel.

     

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