How Hindu Succession Law Applies When a Person Dies Without Will? - Network FP
March 19, 2014

How Hindu Succession Law Applies When a Person Dies Without Will?

Sadique Neelgund

Succession Planning is a very important aspect of overall financial planning. But it is being observed that Indians are very poor at this topic and they generally avoid planning for their inheritance. Being a financial planner I come across number of clients and when I discuss with them whether they have planned how their Wealth will be passed on, they are never clear and have lots of misunderstanding about this concept. This article is an effort to bring some clarity on what happens if one dies without a valid will?

What happens if one dies without valid Will?

In India, as per the provisions of Indian Succession Act, 1925 if one dies without writing a valid will, he is said to be died intestate and his property will be distributed as per the provisions of the succession law applicable to him.  So if you want that your hard earned wealth should be distributed as per your wish it is important to write proper will. In India, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains are covered under Hindu Succession Act 1956 and Indian Succession Act, 1925. Muslims are governed by their Muslim Law. Christians, Parsis and Jews are governed by Indian Succession Act, 1925.

If Hindu Male Dies Without Will

Let us see how wealth will be distributed if a person with Hindu religion dies without a valid will. In case of a Hindu male if he dies without a valid will his wealth will be distributed as per the provisions of Hindu Succession Law  first to Class 1 Heirs equally and if there are no Class 1 then to Class 2 Heirs. Following is the list of Class 1 and Class 2 Heirs;

Class I Heirs

Class 2 Heirs

What if Both Class 1 & Class 2 Heirs are Missing?

In the absence of heirs of Class 1 and Class 2, the property is passed to the agnates and cognates of the deceased in succession. Between agnates and cognates, agnates are preferred over cognates.

Agnates : Agnate means a person related to wholly through males either by blood or by adoption. The agnatic relation may be a male or a female. One’s father’s brother, or father’s brother’s son or father’s son’s son or father’s son’s daughter are agnates. So the final relationship may be male or female but it must be through males. The relationship can also be in ascending or descending line.

Cognates : Cognates means a person related not wholly through males. Where a person is related to the deceased through one or more females, he or she is called a cognate. Thus son’s daughter’s son or daughter, sister’s son or daughter, mother’s brother’s son, etc. are cognates. Here also the final relationship may be male or female but there is at least one female in that line of relationship.

Note that if there are more than one Widow’s , then they get one share only and then divide it between themselves and a person immediate family will also be considered as one unit only.

If Hindu Female Dies Without Will

If a Hindu Female dies without writing a valid will then her own wealth will be distributed as under;

  1. Firstly, upon the son and daughters and the husband.
  2. Secondly, upon the heirs of the husband.
  3. Thirdly, upon the mother and father.
  4. Fourthly, upon heirs of the father.
  5. Lastly upon heirs of the mother.

Property acquired from Husband
If the women has acquired any property from her Husband, in that case the first right will be of the heirs of her husband, in case of absence of his sons or daughters. 

Property acquired from Father or Mother
If the women has acquired any property from his Father or Mother, in that case the first right will be of the heirs of her father and not husband, in case of absence of his sons or daughters.

Conclusion

So it is clearly evident that we as financial planners should encourage our clients to write a proper “WILL” because in absence of the valid will his/her hard earned wealth will be distributed as per the provisions of law. Further when there is no clear will, it can lead to a situation where there can be disputes between family and it can take few years to resolve so it is very much advisable to ensure our clients have a proper will in place.

 

Authored by,

Prakash Lohana

Chief Financial Planner
Ascent Financial Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Vadodara

18 Thoughts to “How Hindu Succession Law Applies When a Person Dies Without Will?”

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  17. Sriram says:

    Hi , My age is 65 and hindu. I have a brother(unmarried 58 and died 1 year ago without will) and sister (married 65 died 2 years ago). My father passed away without will almost 50 years ago.
    All the property we acquire from inherited property.
    My unmarried brother before marriage sells 1 acre of agriculture land and at that time we produce a document mentioned that we orally divide the assets before 1982 and now divide and selling the property on the same accordance. He sells the property and died with partly registered (leaving 14 cents). I produce the document that he is under my supervision till death and I registered the rest of the property.

    We have given some decent amount, gold and 2.7 acre at the time of my sister marriage and we have undergone a 100 rupees stamp agreement without registered mentioning mutually divided all the assets in 2003 while my sister selling her land.
    Now my sister children send a court notice demanding that the property which we acquired through the 1980 document is invalid, 1 acre which my brother sells is invalid and ask us to divide the whole inherited property divide into 2 parts..
    We assume even according to new law that we need to divide the property into 3 parts and my brother is under my supervision till last breath, so I can acquire his property by producing the supporting local village officer documents since we stay together in beside houses and my sister stays away from our village.
    Q1) is the total property is divide into 2 r 3 parts
    Q2) if 3, can I acquired my brother share by mentioning that he is under my supervision till death

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