Just as financial planning is vital for safeguarding your future, estate planning is important for securing your possessions. It is critical to leave a Will in order to avoid the inheritors from legal complications and needless squabbles. A Will is a straightforward means for an individual’s possessions to be transferred after his or her death to his heirs (class 1 heirs or any other).
But what happens if the property’s owner dies intestate, or without leaving a Will? In such circumstances, the property is split in equal portions among all lawful heirs in accordance with the deceased’s religious laws. Get online legal advice about succession in absence of a will.
Types of legal heirs:
An heir is a person selected by law to inherit the inheritance of an ancestor who died without leaving a testament. The word legal heir often refers to a person who inherits property, which might be by law or by will. Different types of Legal heirs are as following order:
- Class 1 heirs of a Hindu male;
- His Class 2 heirs ;
- Agnates: related by blood or adoption, through the male;
- Cognates: related by blood or adoption, not necessarily through males.
If a man who practices Hinduism passes away intestate (without a will), the property will be distributed according to the list of relatives provided in class 1 heir listed in of the Hindu Succession Act.
If none of the relatives described in Class 1 heir are living, the Act gives a list of relatives under Class 2. If class 2 heirs are not present then to agnates and if agnates are also not present then to cognates. Similarly, if the dead is a Hindu female, the Act provides a list of relatives who might be regarded as legal heirs. This is also true for Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs.
Hindu male passing away intestate (or without a will)
When a Hindu man dies intestate, his property is distributed to Class 1 heirs of Hindu male. If no Class 1 heirs of a hindu male exist, the property will pass to his Class 2 heirs.
As per Hindu Succession Act, 1956; Class 1 Legal heirs of a Hindu male are following:
“Son; daughter; widow; mother; son of pre-deceased son; daughter of a pre-deceased son; son of a pre-deceased daughter; daughter of a pre-deceased daughter; widow of a pre-deceased son; son of a predeceased son of a pre-deceased son; daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son; widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son”.
While, class 2 legal heirs include:
“Father; Sons daughter’s son; Sons daughter’s daughter; Brother; Sister; Daughters son’s son; Daughters son’s daughter; Daughters daughter’s son; Daughters Daughter’s daughter; Brothers son; Sister’s son; Brothers daughter; Sister’s daughter; Fathers father; Fathers mother; Fathers widow; Brothers widow; Fathers brother; Fathers sister; Mothers father; Mothers mother; Mothers brother; Mothers sister.”
What is a will?
Will refers to a formal declaration of a person’s purpose about his property, which he wishes to take effect after his death. It is a unilateral document that takes effect upon the death of the person who created it. It can be cancelled or revised at any moment the creator is competent to dispose of his property.
The terms of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 regulate a will made by a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, or Jain. Muslims, on the other hand, are not bound by the Indian Succession Act of 1925 and can dispose of their property in accordance with Muslim law.
Who can make a Will?
- Anyone of sound mind who is not a minor can form a will.
- People who are deaf, stupid, or blind can form a will if they can understand what it does.
- A person who is normally mad may form a will during a period when he is of sound mind.
- No one can form a will if he is in such a condition of mind, whether from drunkenness, sickness, or any other reason, that he is unaware of what he is doing.
Will registration procedure is as follows:
- Consult an attorney to write a Will.
- Schedule a registration appointment with the Sub-Registrar’s office.
- Pay the registration costs required by your state.
- Bring two credible witnesses to the Sub-Registrar.
- Registered copies can be picked up within a week.
Absence of a will
In the absence of a Will, the following documents are necessary:
- The Succession Certificate is necessary in the event of moveable property. A succession certificate is a document that is handed to the legal heir or successor of a deceased individual who did not leave a will. It establishes the petitioner’s relationship to the dead. When there is no will, it is a vital document that specifies the deceased’s obligations, securities, and possessions. A district court in the region where the dead individual lived issues a succession certificate. If no such location is available, the jurisdiction in which the deceased’s property may be discovered. The succession certificate delegates control over the dead person’s assets such as a pension, mutual funds, and insurance to the certificate holder. The successor will also inherit any debts/loans that must be paid, according to the Indian Succession Act of 1925.
- A Letter of Administration is necessary in the event of immovable property. The court issues it to the rightful heir.
When a person dies leaving behind property but without leaving a will or testament or other instruction concerning its distribution that is capable of taking effect in line with the law in force, the property is dispersed to its legal heirs according to inheritance laws. This type of devolution, in which property is devolved and divided according to inheritance laws, is known as intestate succession.
The plan of intestate succession applies to the following property of a man intestate; one basic need for the application of intestate laws (as indicated above) is that the property not have been disposed of by will or testament.
Succession of a Male Intestate’s Property
All class 1 heirs who are connected by blood, marriage, or adoption are classified into four groups or categories. This classification is mostly based on the heir’s relationship with the dead, while other elements such as natural love and affection are also considered. Furthermore, the older regime’s rule of agnate over cognate has been kept.
Property Devolution Rules for a Male Intestate
When a person passes away intestate, the property passes first to class 1 heirs of a Hindu male; if just one class 1 heir of a hindu male is present, the property does not pass to his class 2 heirs. In the absence of a class 2 heir category, the property will pass to heirs in class 3 or agnates, which principally consists of the intestate’s blood relations linked to him through a full male chain of relatives. If no heir is present in class III, the interest in the property passes to any other blood related to the intestate.
It is important to note that the requirements of the act or any schedule to that effect do not put a complete stop to the heirs, so in the absence of a close relative, a person may be qualified to inherit its property. If he can trace his blood tie to the deceased, no matter how far away he or she is. This was a significant development since before this legislation, only four generations were acknowledged, but the degree limitation has now been lifted.
Class 1 heirs of a male hindu are those to whom the property interest passes in the first instance upon the death of the intestate. There are eleven female members and five male members in this category.
All class 1 heirs of hindu males take the property totally and solely as their own property, and no one may claim a right by birth in this inherited property, unlike the former joint family rule.