A Guideline On Rights To Inherit Father’s Property In Hindu Law

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Index

  1. Introduction 
  2. Hindu Succession Act, 1956
  3. Difference in Rights on Ancestral and Self-acquired
  4. Succession Laws for Other Religions
  5. Steps for Distribution of Father’s Property 
  6. Disentitlement of Father’s Property
  7. Recent Changes
  8. Claims on Gifted Property
  9. Conclusion

Introduction 

The claim for everything your father owns is where all the differences in opinions begin, this might be the end of bonding and a test of loyalty to your siblings and parents. Importantly, laws are a rescue to these differences, longing for justice and equality of genders and further proves it by means of children’s claim to father’s property. There are succession laws applicable to the children and as time has led to the need for changes and rights, there has been reforms in these laws. Here is a kick-start on answers to your curiosities on sons and daughters’ claim to fathers property. 

Hindu Succession Act, 1956

Basically, the law to look forward to is the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. This ultimate law relating to Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs, explains the exact rights to each member of the family after the father’s death on his property. The Hindu Succession act categorises the members into classes, so as to claim the property if one certain member is not alive, then the next category would deserve the property. 

Class one heirs including the wife of the deceased, the mother and the children are the rightful owners firstly, if the own children are absent or in other words have not lived until the father’s death, the grandchildren is said to have the right to claim the properties and this is guaranteed by the right to claim ancestral properties. 

Subsequently, class two defines members such as the father of the deceased, siblings and their children. Likewise, if the siblings of the deceased have not lived until his death then the heirs would be the rightful owners. 

Difference in Rights on Ancestral and Self-acquired 

The Hindu Succession act has in fact also categorised the claim on property in two ways. A father may have earned the property with his own efforts and earned properties he has been owned to from his father. This is called self-acquired property. Therefore, rights differ in terms of ancestral and self-acquired properties for the children in order to claim them. In case of ancestral property, the son has been owned to from the moment of his birth. Whereas, he can request for partition of the property to own it and even sell the property he owns before the separation of it. 

Also Read  All You Need to Know about Transfer of Property

In 2005, The Hindu Succession law was indeed amended once again for the purpose of eliminating the alienation women  have faced when it comes to ancestral property. A HUF (Hindu undivided family)  would usually not recommend passing ancestral property to the daughters and the Hindu Succession act, 2005 has now contradicted this opinion. Hindu daughters are now coparceners and have the rightful ownership to ancestral property, to claim equivalent proportion of the son. 

Meanwhile, the daughter of a father despite of her marital status has the right to attain her father’s self- acquired and ancestral property and this was also supported by the Hindu Succession act, which was amended on September 9, 2005. A married daughter has the right to claim her father’s self-acquired property same as the unmarried daughter. This has caused complications between the judiciary and citizens as the law was not applicable to daughters before the date September 9. Several altercations later, in August 2020, it was announced the amended law is applicable to female citizens before September 9. 

On the other hand, children of both sexes cannot claim their rights if the father has in his own decision or will has made a pact to whom the property belongs after his death. This means, a father can either as a gift or through an official will without being compelled, blackmailed or being misled, pass his properties to his son and daughter. 

Succession Laws for Other Religions 

Hypothetically, each religion has its own ideology on lifestyle and inheritance is one of them. Indian law caters to these ideologies without triggering hues. For the Hindus as already mentioned would be the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. As for the Muslims, the Sharia law has been a primary reference for such cases and the father’s property would be transferred to his legal heirs. Whereas, the Indian Succession Act, 1925 similarly states that property of the father belongs to the wife, children and their children for inheritance if the religion is Christianity. In contrast, the Parsi Succession Act paves its way for acquiring inheritance as per the laws in this act. If the father has made a will before his death as to whom his property will go, it stands as the final testament. Only for situations if the father has not made will can the heirs approach to claim their ownership where these laws act as a framework for deserving inheritance.

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It is advised to consult a lawyer for more detail on the law prevailing in your state and religion .

Steps for Distribution of Father’s Property 

To identify the properties and for the heirs to claim, in case the will is non-existent one has to mandatorily follow the laws, but these are the steps we normally see for the inheritance to be claimed :

  1. Identifying if the properties are self acquired properties or ancestral. This is the first step as laws differ for the two types. 
  2. Identifying the heirs would be crucial as the heirs that deserve them according to the law must be found firsthand in order to announce the distribution.
  3. There might be situations where the members might oppose the agreement which later compels them to approach the civil court for a partition of the property to the rightful heirs. The court to approach here depends on the state laws and type of property. 
  4. The court thereafter analyses the overall property to obtain its market value. This gives the purpose for rightful distribution of the property. 
  5. The heirs then acquired the property based on the value and of equal share either physically or financially. 
  6. The heirs are then required to register the property given to them as a final leap of the procedure.

These are the general steps to be followed for the distribution of the fathers property after his death, although it is advised to comply with the laws present in the area as it differs according to locations and religions. 

Disentitlement of Father’s Property 

The Hindu Succession Act in addition to serving rights has also mentioned certain conditions in which the heirs will be restricted from gaining the fathers property if there is no will. The act of murder or conversion disqualifies the heirs to obtain the property. The law will dismiss the right to inherit the property to such heirs as per the Act. 

Recent Changes 

As succession laws commence striving for equitable rights of heirs and father’s in claiming and passing properties, changes have been made on being alerted to the deprivation of laws needed for certain situations. One of them is the Hindu Succession Act, 2005 which caters to Hindu women, married or single, to have a right to claim their father’s property whether self acquired or ancestral. A recent change that turned heads is that an heir in an invalid marriage has the right to claim their father’s property also guaranteed by the Hindu Succession act. Initially it was argued only to claim the self acquired property, but on behest of legitimacy and numerous debates later, children in an invalid marriage also have the right to claim ancestral properties of their father’s. Moreover, the court has declared a deadline of maximum 12 years to file a partition case of the father’s property after his death and the Limitation act, 1963 too doesn’t say otherwise. A query may pop up asking if one can claim the fathers property while he is alive. Any heir is required to only claim their rightful property after the father’s death and not when is alive even though he has been absent or left without a notice and this depends on the will too. 

Also Read  The Evolution And Implications Of The Land Acquisition Act In India

Claims on Gifted Property. 

At times a father may give his son properties as a gift and questions arise to whether this gifted property can be claimed and what category does this belong to. A gifted property is in fact a self acquired property and not an ancestral property. An ancestral property is what a father acquires upon the death of his father, or if the grandfather had claimed it as a result of partitioning. As a gifted property is a self acquired property the heirs are not given the right to claim such property. 

Conclusion 

The Hindu Succession law is a source of evolving space for children’s rights in fathers property. We have come across laws emphasising a daughter’s rights and a framework dealing with religious laws. Nevertheless, the Succession law is something that will not make us envious of and ensure the best outcomes. Times have changed and so have rights that now stand as a pillar to governing rights of women and fathers. To know more about succession laws that govern your rights to tend to your cases, it is advisable to consult a lawyer for extended guidance.

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