All about Property Inheritance

The laws surrounding real estate are often confusing. The legal work might seem daunting but the right guidance can often cover the difference between stress-free property ownership. Most cases pending in the Indian courts are related properties.

To avoid any further discrepancies, the law recognizes the concept of an heir. In case of death of a family member, the real estate owned by them is entitled to the next of kin or heir in the absence of a will. In India, a person’s inherited and acquired property is divided among his/her legal heirs as per various laws. After the demise, the matters related to property inheritance and other claims have to be taken up by their respective heir. The understanding of an heir may vary from society to society and according to the religious faith that they follow.

Hindu Succession Act

The HSA only applies to all Hindus, Buddhists, Jain, and Sikhs. It also applies to those with converted religions or who are born out of wedlock. The Indian Muslims and Christians have respective laws in place to determine how the property would be inherited by their legal heirs, hence the HSA does not apply to them. The Hindu Succession Act only comes into question when a Hindu dies without leaving a will (intestate). In the case of a Hindu man dying intestate, his property goes to the following and in a particular order of preference which is as follows:

Class I Heirs:

  • Widow
  • Son
  • Daughter
  • Mother of the intestate
  • The heirs of pre-deceased children of the intestate (which shall include the widow, sons, daughters of the predeceased children as well)

Class II Heirs:

  • Father
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Other relatives

Agnates: These are the blood relations to the deceased through males. For example, brother’s son, brother’s daughter, son’s son, etc.

Cognates: These are the blood relations to the deceased through females. For example, sister’s son, sister’s daughter, daughter’s son, etc.

In the case where a Hindu male passes away, the following shall take place

  • The Class I heirs get equal shares
  • In case of absence of Class I heirs, it shall be equally divided amongst Class II heirs
  • In case of absence of Class I or Class II heirs the property shall be divided amongst the Agnates and then the Cognates.
  • If none of the abovementioned heirs exist then the property shall pass on to the Government

In case a Hindu Female passes away, the property shall be divided amongst

  • First her children and husband
  • In case of absence, it goes to her husband’s heirs
  • In case of absence, it goes to her father and mother
  • In case of absence, it goes to her father’s heirs
  • In case of absence, it goes to her mother’s heirs


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