Legal Guide

Know All About Hindu Law of Inheritance

by Bhavya Choudhary · 4 min read

Hindu law of inheritance

Introduction

  • The transfer of property, wealth, and house from one generation to another to secure it within the family is called an inheritance. 
  • Hindu law of inheritance means the laws which regulate the succession of wealth within Hindu households. In India, the law regulating this is the Hindu Succession Act of 1956.
  • There have been cases where these issues have arisen, so the Hindu code bill was brought to improve the conditions of the already existing inheritance laws, which were not codified at that time. 
  • Legal advice should always be taken by only a lawyer registered under the Bar Council of India for any matter related to this.

Application of the Hindu Law of Inheritance

The applicability of this Act is outlined in Section 2 of this Act. This Act is relevant under the Hindu law of inheritance:

  • Somebody who practices Hinduism or one of its variations, such as a Virashaiva, Lingayat, Brahmo, Prarthna, or Arya Samaj, adherent under the Hindu law of inheritance.
  • Any person who practices Buddhism, Sikhism, or Jainism.
  • Everyone else who isn’t a Muslim, Christian, Parsi, or Jew, unless it can be demonstrated that they wouldn’t be subject to Hindu law or tradition.
  • Additionally, this law will apply to all of India for the Hindu law of inheritance.

Who can claim to be a Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, or Jain under the Hindu Law of Inheritance?

  • A child, either legally adopted or not, whose parents are Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Hindus, or Buddhists.
  • A child, whether genuine or not, who is raised as a member of the tribe, community, group, or family to which one of the parents belongs and who is either Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, or Sikh.
  • Anyone who has converted or reverted to the religions of Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, or Buddhism under the Hindu law of inheritance.

Which properties are exempt from this Act under the Hindu Law of Inheritance?

The following properties are listed in Section 5 as not being covered by this Act under the Hindu law of inheritance:

  • Any property whose succession is subject to the provisions of the Special Marriage Act of 1954’s Section 21 due to the Indian Succession Act, 1925, under the Hindu law of inheritance.
  • According to Section 21 of the Special Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act shall control the succession to the property of any person whose marriage is solemnized under this Act and the property of the issue of such marriage.
  • Any estate or property that passes to a single heir by the terms of a covenant or agreement made between the ruler of an Indian state and the government or by a law that was created and passed before the effective date of this Act.
  • Due to the authority granted by the Maharaja of Cochin’s Proclamation (IX of 1124), dated 29th June 1949, the Palace Administration Board is in charge of managing the Valliamma Thampuran Kovilagam Estate and the Palace Fund.

Types of succession in the Hindu Law of Inheritance

There are two types of succession in the Hindu law of inheritance –

  • It is referred to as testamentary succession when the transfer of property is controlled by a testament or a will. Will registration be necessary but not mandatory?
  • A Hindu male or female may make a will in anyone’s favor, even one that directs a portion of the undivided Mitakshara coparcenary property under the Hindu law of inheritance.
  • This ought to be legitimate and enforceable in court.
  • The distribution will take place by the terms of the will rather than according to inheritance laws in the Hindu law of inheritance.
  • Property can pass through the Hindu law of inheritance in cases where the will is invalid or unenforceable.
  • As was said above, an intestate decedent passes away without leaving a will or testament. When this occurs, the property will be divided according to the laws of inheritance among the legitimate heirs in the Hindu law of inheritance.

Classification of Heirs in Hindu Law of Inheritance

Heirs are classified into four categories in the Hindu law of inheritance:

  • Class I
  • Class II
  • Class III 
  • Class IV 

What is included in class one heir in the Hindu Law of Inheritance?

  • Sons and Daughters
  • Mothers, Widows, and Sons of a Predeceased Son
  • widows of a son who passed away
  • a deceased son’s predeceased son
  • widows of a dead son of a dead son
  • a son’s deceased mother’s sister
  • the eldest child of a deceased daughter
  • a predeceased son’s deceased son’s daughter
  • a deceased daughter’s father
  • a predeceased daughter’s predeceased daughter’s daughter
  • a deceased daughter’s father
  • a deceased daughter’s son is a deceased daughter’s son
  • Daughter of a deceased Son of a deceased Daughter
  • Son of a deceased daughter, who is the daughter of a deceased son.

Class 2 Heirs in Hindu Law of Inheritance

  • Father
  • Son’s Daughter’s son
  • Son’s daughter’s daughter
  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Daughter’s son’s son, daughter’s son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter’s son, daughter’s daughter’s daughter
  • Brother’s son, sister’s son, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter
  • Father’s father, father’s mother
  • Father’s widow, brother’s widow
  • Father’s brother, father’s sister
  • Mother’s father, mother’s mother
  • Mother’s brother, mother’s sister

Conclusion 

The distribution of property or the succession in the Hindu law of inheritance follows the concept of class-wise heirs who are eligible to hold the succession of the property. The Hindu law of inheritance gives preference to the member of the family who is closest to the last successor.

The classification of the heirs in the law tells the same thing. The will registration and legal advice for the claim of succession should be taken by the successor by a good lawyer. In this article, we also saw that there are two types of succession. This article mostly deals with the Hindu law of inheritance.

Distribution of Property on the concept of class-wise heirs can be difficult. One must consult a property lawyer to avoid any difficulty.

Bhavya Choudhary

Written by

Bhavya Choudhary

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