Legal Advice

Inheritance of property according to Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005

Question: X passed away in 1970, leaving behind his widow, mother, father, two daughters, and three sons. Who is entitled to inherit the property after him according to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005, and to what extent?

Advise

The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005 introduced substantial modifications to the inheritance of property within the Hindus, specifically with the objective of ensuring equal rights for daughters in ancestral property. Key provisions of the amendment encompass the recognition of daughters as coparceners by birth, conferring upon them equal rights and responsibilities in ancestral property alongside sons.

This translates to daughters having identical entitlements as sons in both self-acquired and ancestral property, signifying a departure from traditional practices. Notably, the amendments hold a retrospective effect, applicable from the enforcement date of the Act on September 9, 2005.

This retrospective application implies that daughters are entitled to their rightful share, even if the demise of the father occurred prior to the enactment of the amendment. In situations where a Hindu male dies intestate, the property distribution follows a hierarchy among Class I heirs, encompassing the widow, daughters, sons, mother, and, in the absence of any of these, other legal heirs.

Additionally, the amendment addresses the scenario of a predeceased son leaving behind children, specifying that such grandchildren are entitled to inherit the share that their deceased parent would have received. These legislative changes mark a significant shift in the landscape of inheritance rights, promoting gender equality and ensuring a more equitable distribution of property within Hindu families.

To whom property devolve according to Hindu succession act

Under the Hindu Succession Act, the devolution of property refers to the distribution of an individual’s property after their death. The Act provides a hierarchy of heirs who are entitled to inherit the property of a deceased Hindu male or female. The key points regarding the devolution of property under the Hindu Succession Act are as follows:

  1. Class I Heirs: The property first devolves upon Class I heirs. The order of preference among Class I heirs is as follows:
    • Son
    • Daughter
    • Widow
    • Mother
    • Son of a predeceased son
    • Daughter of a predeceased son
    • Son of a predeceased daughter
    • Daughter of a predeceased daughter
  2. Class II Heirs: If there are no Class I heirs, the property devolves upon Class II heirs. The order of preference among Class II heirs is as follows:
    • Father
    • Brother
    • Sister
    • Son’s daughter’s son
    • Son’s daughter’s daughter
    • Brother’s son
    • Sister’s son
    • Brother’s daughter
    • Sister’s daughter
  3. Ag­nates and Cognates: If there are no Class I or Class II heirs, the property devolves upon agnates (relatives through males) and cognates (relatives through females), following a specified order.

These Class I heirs have priority over Class II heirs in the devolution of property. It’s essential to note that the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005 brought significant changes, granting daughters equal rights as sons in ancestral property, making them coparceners by birth.

In your case, the property will devolve to the widow, son and daughter.

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow