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Who Are Legal Heirs Under The Hindu Succession Act? Eligibility And Exemptions

Hindu Succession Act of 1956 defines the succession rights for Class I and Class II heirs and agnate and co-agnate. Learn more

January 27, 2024
January 27, 2024
Legal Heirs Under The Hindu Succession

Legal Heirs Under The Hindu Succession

The Hindu Succession Act of 1956, as amended in 2005, states the succession rights to a property owned by a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or a Sikh in the absence of a will. This law considers an individual status like religion, whether belonging to tribal community and male or a female. It also describes who is considered a Hindu and who has more right over the inheritance.

Succession Rights

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Succession rights to a property are divided into two groups of people. The first right over an inherited property is for class I heirs, such as son, daughter, mother, widow and grandchildren. Class II heirs are the father’s brother, sister or any grandchildren if there is no class I heirs. In the absence of both class I and II heirs, it will be passed on to the father’s male relatives or agnates and in their absence, it will be passed on to mother’s female lineage or cognate.

Class I: Class I heirs include son, daughter, mother, widow and grandchildren, who can claim rights to a property. In the case of multiple surviving heirs, each is given a share of the property. If a widow or brother’s widow remarries, then they can’t claim any rights to a property.

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Class II: Class II heirs are the father’s brother, sister or any grandchildren and any siblings related directly by blood.

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

Religious Aspects

Only Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains are governed under this Act for inheritance. Those converted or re-converted to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains are also governed under the Act.

Exemptions

If a property is regulated under the Indian Succession Act of 1925 or the Special Marriage Act is exempted under this act. Additionally, step-children, either male or female, do not have rights to the parent’s property. Also, those belonging to scheduled tribes (STs) do not come under the preview of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

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

2005 Amendment Of the Act

This act was amended in 2005 to provide women the right to inherit and hold a property after marriage. In the pre-amendment era, women could inherit a property as last surviving heirs and after marriage to be managed by their husbands. It restricted women to own assets and be the ‘Karta’ or head of the family. Post-2005, women were given equal rights to inherit parents’ property in another step towards women empowerment and eradicate gender biases.

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