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Devolution of property in case of Intestate Succession in India

Written by:
Prachi Sethi
Published on



Intestate succession refers to a succession that occurs without the use of a will. A will specifies how a person intends to distribute his or her assets or possessions to his or her heirs after death. A person is said to have been died intestate when he dies without a will. In such instances, the law of intestate succession governs the succession. As a result, the legal heirs of the dead become entitled to the deceased's assets. In India, the legislation that governs a deceased person's estate is determined by their religion. Different succession rules apply to Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and others.


Hindus' Intestate Succession

The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was enacted to improve and consolidate the legislation governing Hindu intestate succession. It covers all Hindus (Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs) who practice the faith or are defined as Hindus within the legal framework. In 2005, the statute was amended. If a Hindu man dies intestate, the following parties may file a claim under the terms of this Act:

  • Class I legal heirs are the first claimants and are both equally entitled to the assets of the deceased.
  • They are the mother, the husband, and the children. If a child has died, their children and spouse are entitled to an equal portion of the estate.
  • If there does not exist any Class I heirs, then Class II heirs have the right to file a claim.


Some of the Class II heirs are as follows:

I. Father

II. Heirs

Son’s Daughter’s Son

Son’s Daughter’s Daughter



III. Heirs

Daughter’s Son’s Son

Daughter’s Son’s Daughter

Daughter’s Daughter’s Son

Daughter’s Daughter’s Daughter…etc.

  • In the absence of both the preceding two classes of heirs, the Agnates have the right to lodge a claim. Agnates are male lineage's distant blood relations (on the father's side).
  • The Cognates can make a claim in the absence of the above heirs. The term "cognates" refers to distant blood relatives.

The following people can file a claim on behalf of a Hindu woman:

  • The daughters and sons and their spouses can make the first claim
  •  Second Claim– In the event that the initial claimants are unavailable, the husband's heirs may file a claim.
  •  Third Claim– If the first and second claimants are not present, the mother and father may file a claim.
  • In the absence of the above-preceding heirs, the heirs of the father may file a fourth claim.
  • Fifth Claim - Even if the father's heirs are not present, the mother's heirs can make a claim.

If a Hindu male or female has no heirs under all the preceding heads, the Government will be entitled to get the property as an heir under Sec 29(Escheat). When Government takes his property as heir, it makes it subject to all the obligations and liabilities of an heir.


Muslims' Intestate Succession

Sharers and residuary have the right to file a claim if a person governed by Mohammedan Law dies intestate. Sharers are heirs who are entitled to a specified part of the property, whilst Residuary are those who get the balance. In their absence, a group of people known as Distant Kindred can make a claim to the property of the deceased.


Christians' Intestate Succession

In accordance with Section 32 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, the legal heirs of the Christians are his or her husband, wife, or kindred. Asset Consolidation is a term used to describe the process of combining assets. In the event of an intestate death, recording all of the assets possessed by the deceased individual might be difficult. Consolidating assets and developing an effective plan to secure them is a crucial first step. The next step is the release of assets by contacting the institutions.


A succession of Movable Assets:

Movable Assets are basically any type of property that isn't immobile. They include items such as jewelry, automobiles, bank accounts, and financial institution investments. The law applicable to the movable assets of the deceased at the time of his or her death is the law of the land or the state where the deceased resides.



The KYC form needs a nominee for bank balances and investments. Financial institutions will disburse the reserves to the nominee named on the form if the name of the nominee is given at the time of investment. A nominee is, by definition, a trustee of the reserves, vested with the task of safeguarding it until the legal heir is identified. In the event absence of any nominee, the individual who claims the assets must present a succession certificate.A person claiming a claim to the assets can receive letters of administration or a succession certificate from the appropriate court after the moveable assets have been aggregated.

The succession of Immovable Assets:

Immovable Assets are assets that are in the form of land, buildings, etc., and cannot be moved from their place. They act in accordance with situs, which refers to the location of the property. If the title is clear, the successor can alter the ownership at the appropriate district authority with jurisdiction over the property.



Firstly the heirs must confirm that there are no outstanding obligations. Then, once the property's ownership has been confirmed, the next step is to apply for a property mutation. The government's records are effectively updated through mutation. A local authority is contacted to request a mutation. If a challenge is sought, the sub-divisional magistrate would have jurisdiction. If there are numerous heirs, the mutation order will include all of their names. In this instance, it would be preferable, in my opinion, to designate the partition of property among them at the moment of mutation to avoid unintended effects.