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What Happens To Your Property If You Die Intestate?

The Hindu Succession Act classifies heirs into two classes: Class 1 and Class 2, which are immediate and distant heirs, respectively. Without a will, each heir gets a share of the property.

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Outlook Money
February 9, 2024
Die Intestate

Die Intestate

A will is a legal document that validates the ownership of your property as per your wish after death. It helps you control who gets to inherit your estate. It helps to prevent family disputes and lawsuits over a property. However, if you do not leave a will behind and die intestate, it will be open for the courts to decide who gets what based on the merits. In such a scenario, individuals and families laying a stake in a property will have to depend on the courts for their rights, if any.

What Happens When A Person Dies Intestate?

Under section 30 of the Indian Succession Act, a person is deemed to die intestate when they die without making a will. If a person dies intestate, the court may issue a notice seeking any claim over the deceased’s property after the death certificate has been issued. Generally, each heir gets a share in the property, or the heirs can mutually decide who gets what. In disputes, the court can intervene to adjudicate the matter as per the law. Property treatment may rely on the person’s marital status, like married or unmarried, single or widowed, with or without children, etc. The treatment may also differ based on the person’s religion.

Also Read: What Is A Power Of Attorney And Why You Need It? Three Things To Consider

If The Deceased Was Single

If the person dies intestate and is single, the first right over the estate is of the parents. In case both parents are living, it is divided equally. If only one parent survives, the property is divided between the parent and the siblings. If both parents are dead, the property is divided between the siblings. In the case of deceased parents and no siblings, one-half of the estate goes to the relatives on the mother’s side, and the other goes to the relatives on the father’s side.

If the person was single and had children, their children would inherit the estate in equal shares. In case of any deceased children, their share will be inherited by the deceased child’s children (grandchildren).

Also Read: What Is Succession Planning And Why Is It Important?

If The Deceased Was Married

If a married person die intestate, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse, depending on whether the deceased solely owns the property. Also, if children are in the picture, one half goes to the spouse, and the rest is divided between the children. In case of joint or communal ownership, it will be divided between the surviving spouse, siblings, and parents.

If the person was in a domestic partnership without marriage, the domestic partner may inherit the property, relying on the fact that the deceased owned the property. However, some states have different rules, which may include or exclude the domestic partner from being the legal heir; therefore, it is vital to refer to the state laws as well.

Also Read: How Do You Add A Nominee To A House Property?

Hindu Succession Act & Special Marriage Act

The Hindu Succession Act is limited to people born and brought up as Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist. It classifies heirs into two classes: Class 1 and Class 2, which are immediate and distant heirs, respectively. Without a will, each heir gets a share of the property.

Special Marriage Act provides legal rights to people marrying in cross religions. It is extended to every religion, such as Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, Jew, etc. In case of Intestate death, the Act provides equal rights as any other heir to the deceased’s spouse.

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