My Father passed away without making a will, who will have the legal rights to his property?
Inheritance is a way of owning legal rights, obligations and title of the property. It may be done by modes of making a will or otherwise the prevailing laws of succession in India.
The ancestral property is of utmost important in this case, the legal heirs should go through a legal process to attain the rightful title of such property.
Will- A declaration
A will is a declaration or a written document which is supposed to be a decision as to who will be managing and owning the property after the death of the concerned person. Most of the people make a will before they hit old age, however, the validation of the will, its authenticity or not is done by the court post the death of the person, there is a specific legal procedure that needs to be followed to establish legal rights over the property.
Usually the legal heirs have the right to the property, the tricky part comes to establishing who is a legal heir.
A Legal Heir under Hindu Law
Earlier daughters did not have the same rights as son, but with the amendment in the Hindu Succession Act in 2005, even daughters have equivalent rights on the property.
If the father dies intestate, without making a will the legal rights of the property will vest in the living wife, children (son/daughter) equally. Following is the list of legal heirs under Hindu Law:
- Daughter of a son who is deceased
- Daughter of a daughter who is deceased
- Daughter of a pre- deceased son of a pre- deceased son
- Widow of a son who is deceased
- Widow of a pre- deceased son of a pre- deceased son.
- Son of a son who is deceased
- Son of a daughter who is deceased
- Son of a pre- deceased son of a pre- deceased son
If the female dies intestate, without a will the legal rights of the property will vest in the following:
- the sons and daughters (which includes the children of any son or daughter who are not alive) and the husband,
- the heirs of her husband,
- to her mother and father,
- to the heirs of her father; and
- to the heirs of her mother.
- Under the Act, if any estate succeeded by a female from her father or mother will get transferred, in the absence of any daughter or son of the dead (including the children of any pre- deceased daughter or son) to the heirs of her father.
- Under the Act, if any estate succeeded by a female from her husband or from her father-in-law will get transferred, in the absence of any daughter or son of the dead (including the children of any pre- deceased daughter or son) to the heirs of her husband.
That the Hindu Succession law provides for class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV of legal heirs who would have the right to own and manage the property if the father dies intestate. Also, it provides for the legal heirs for the property of the female, if she dies intestate. Also, considering the Amendment made in the year 20005, daughters have equal right in the property as the sons.