Legal Guide

Who are the Legal heirs of a Deceased Husband?

by Bhavya Choudhary · 3 min read

Legal heir of the deceased husband

Introduction 

  • After a person passes away, their property is inherited by their legal heirs or successors under the Hindu Succession Act, and it has certain divisions under it according to which the share is distributed in case there is no Will made.
  • If the legal owner of the property has made a will, the property and belongings will be distributed to the people whose names are mentioned in the will. The exact property will be given, which is written in the will. 
  • This eliminates the chance of disputes among the heirs as each gets as per the intention of the deceased person. In this blog, we will read who are the legal heirs of the deceased husband.

Property Rights of Women

In India, women and men have different property rights as per their division and immediate family hierarchy. Most women are not aware of what rights they can claim and the provisions that stand behind them.

The rights of women after their husband passes away can depend on factors such as:

  • If there were any legal heirs of the deceased husband with any shared or joint ownership 
  • The wife has joint ownership with the husband.
  • If the concerned property is Self-acquired or ancestral property matters, when claiming their share as legal heirs of the deceased husband, they get their share differently in both cases.

The husband may have made a will with voluntary will registration, as this will make it legally valuable and enforceable by law. 

The government has not made will registration mandatory for people, but this process only gives it validity, and action can be taken to claim it or revoke it.

Joint Ownership or Shared Property Rights

If both husband and wife have a property in their name and it’s jointly signed and approved. This type of joint ownership will have a different effect when one co-owner dies. The ownership nature also determines what right the legal heir of the deceased husband has over the property or asset.

It can be of many types and ways:

  • Shared or joint tenancy: The right of survivorship is not enabled in such cases. Here if any one of the co-owner dies, their share or part is transferred to the legal heir. So the legal heir of the deceased husband will rightfully have the ownership of the property or tenancy.

The surviving co-owners get their part in joint ownership. They receive the part of the deceased person, and it’s also divided among themselves in an equal ratio.

  • Tenancy by the entirety: This is a special and specific case where it is shared and owned only between the husband and wife, where they are also the legal heirs of each other. The partners cannot transfer their share of this type of ownership to another third party without mutual consent. The legal heir of the deceased husband or wife gets the share, and it is terminated by mutual decision or legal revoking.

Property distribution to the legal heirs of the deceased husband

  • In cases of joint/shared tenancy or entirety, the legal heir of the deceased husband or wife is the other spouse who is surviving. The share and partial transfer to the surviving partner.
  • Tenancy in common: In this case, the legal heirs of the deceased husband will get the share as co-owners in the asset or property. The distribution happens as per the laws of the Hindu Succession Act. 
  • The acquired property of the husband is under joint ownership between wife and husband, so after the husband passes away, the wife is the immediate legal heir of the deceased husband, who will receive the husband’s share as a surviving co-owner.
  • In other scenarios, the entire property is divided among the legal heirs of the deceased husband, who also includes the co-owners/ wife.
  • The share of contributions by the wife or any other legal heir is also useful to determine what share they will receive as the legal heir of the deceased husband. 

In these cases of inheritance, legal advice can be taken regarding what property will fall under the provisions and how it is determined. 

Division on Self-Acquired Property and Ancestral Property 

As per the Hindu law provisions, a wife is entitled to receive the share as the legal heir of the deceased husband. This is enabled for the legal heir of the deceased husband only if the husband had not made a will, that is, intestate Succession. 

The Hindu Succession Act of 1955 states that the legal heirs of the deceased husband or any Hindu male include a wife and other legal successors who are Class I heirs. The types of properties are as follows:

  • In the case of Self-acquired property: The wife inherits the property as the legal heir of the deceased husband. She becomes the rightful owner along with legal successors. Their initial division is Class I heir.
  • In the case of ancestral property: In this case, the wife cannot claim partition as the legal heir of the deceased husband. She has a right to receive the property share. The legal heirs of the deceased husband or male get their part equally. 

In Christian law: In Christian law, the property is termed as self-acquired regardless of the acquisition. The wife and other successors inherit as the legal heir of the deceased husband/male.

In Muslim law: The wife is the legal heir of the deceased husband, and she can claim the property ownership. 

  • If the wife has no children with the deceased husband, she is entitled to one-4th of the share.
  • If the wife has children with the deceased husband, she is entitled to 1/8th of the share as the legal heir of the deceased husband. 

The legal heirs may take legal advice from a property lawyer on matters related to the distribution and their share. The law provisions state that property can be inherited from

  • Deceased individual’s parents
  • Deceased individual’s spouse
  • Deceased individual’s siblings 
  • An immediate relative of the deceased individual in case there is none of the above.

Conclusion

The Hindu Succession Act states in what way property can be divided in case of Testamentary or intestate Succession. This helps in determining who is entitled to be the legal heir of the deceased husband as per class division. 

Taking the help of a property lawyer is very effective on matters related to distribution and inheritance as they will help in understanding the law provisions related to Succession.

Bhavya Choudhary

Written by

Bhavya Choudhary

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