Hindu Succession Act-Things you must know



Hindu Succession Act-Things you must know

From time immemorial we the Indians love to acquire or enjoy ancestral properties. And there should not be any wrong deed in that. But so many years have passed by after independence, still, we find many instances where elder brother tend to kill younger brother and vice versa for just only ancestral properties. When we hear this sort of news in media we all just get astonished regarding how brothers of the same mother can become so cruel for properties left by their ancestors.

Having regard to one of the latest incidents I have gone through of late, today I have decided to write a blog post on Hindu Succession Act/Indian Succession Act-Things you must know.
The Hindu Succession Act was first introduced or passed by the Parliament of India in 1956. This law was enacted to enforce the laws relating to ‘intestate’ or ‘unwilled’ succession amongst the Hindus. The need for the introduction of this act was to eradicate the complicacy and grievances that arose in relation to unwilled or intestate properties.

  • This act was further amended in 2005 by the Hindu Succession(Amendment) Act, 2005.
  • This act primarily lays down uniform & comprehensive system of inheritance and applies to both “Mithakshara” school of thought and “Dayabhaga” school of thought. We will learn about these school of thoughts later on;
  • Hindu women’s Limited Estate has been abolished by this act. Any property possessed by a Hindu woman is to be held by her absolute property and she is given full power to deal with it and dispose of it by will as per her like;
  • This Act deals with succession to Hindu male and female separately;

To whom the Hindu Succession Act/Indian Succession Act is applicable?

  • This act is applicable to the following namely;
  • any person who is a Hindu by religion in any forms;
  • any person who is a Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion;
  • any other person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi, Jew by religion unless it is proved that the concerned person would not have been governed by Hindu Law.

To whom the distribution of property would be made under the Hindu Succession Act?

The property of a Hindu male dying ‘intestate’ or without a ‘will’ would first be given to his heirs of Class I, such as:

  1. Son;
  2. Daughter;
  3. Widow;
  4. Mother;
  5. Son of a predeceased son;
  6. Daughter of a predeceased son;
  7. Widow of a predeceased son;
  8. Son of a predeceased daughter;
  9. Daughter of a predeceased daughter;

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Who are Class II heirs:

  1. Father;
  2. Son’s daughter’s son, son’s daughter’s daughter, brother, sister;
  3. Daughter’s son’s son, daughter’s son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter’s son, daughter’s daughter’s daughter;
  4. Brother’s son, sister’s son,b rother’s daughter’ sister’s daughter, father’s father, father’s mother;
  5. Father’s widow,b rother’s widow, father’s brother, father’s sister;
  6. Mother’s father, mother’ mother;
  7. Mother’s brother, mother’s sister;


Now, it seems that the relationship model as I mentioned above is looking very complicated. Don’t get confused. Just try to understand the whole property distribution scenario by simply drawing a family tree of all possible family members that do exist right now in front of you.

  • Under the Hindu Succession Act,1956 women are granted ownership of all property acquired either before or after signing of the act;
  • The property of a Hindu female dying ‘intestate’ i.e. without a will would be distributed in the following order:-
  1. Son, daughter, and husband;
  2. Children of predeceased son or daughter;
  3. Heir’s of the husband;
  4. Heir’s of the father;
  5. Heir’s of the mother;
  • The Indian Succession Act was enacted on 30.09.1925 with a view to consolidating all Indian Laws relating to the succession;
  • It is also applicable to intestate succession in case of Parsis & Christians and testamentary succession;
  • The property shall be divided in such a number of equal shares as may correspond with the number of lineal descendants of the intestate who are nearest in the degree to the intestate;

Let’s take some examples to understand in a very simple manner how the Hindu Succession Act ensures the property distribution.

Situation -1: Akash has three children. X,Y & Z.All of them have two children each. All children of Akash are dead. Now, Akash dies. How the property would be distributed?
Answer: All property of Akash would be distributed amongst 6 grandchildren equally. Each will get a 1/6^th share.
Situation -2: Now, imagine Y has no child. What would happen then?
Answer:— Now, all property of Akash would be distributed amongst 4 grandchildren equally. Each will get a 1/4^th share.
Situation -3: Akash has three children. X,Y & Z. X died leaving 3 children.Y died leaving 1 child and Z is alive. Now, what would happen after the death of their father Akash?
Answer:— 1/3^rd of the property would be given to Z, 1/3^rd of the property would be given to 3 children of X and remaining 1/3^rd share would get 1 child of Y.
Situation -4: Now, imagine all children of Akash i.e. X, Y & Z are not alive and has 8 grandchildren and 2 children of a deceased grandchild. How the intestate would be distributed now?
Answer:— The intestate property would be distributed at 1/9^th share equally amongst the 7 grandchildren and remaining 1/9^th share equally between two great-grandchildren.

Final words on Hindu Succession Act/ Indian Succession Act- Things you must know

I have tried to keep this blog post very lucid and simple. The wording under the bare act is not very easy to grasp. So, I kept in mind using simple words so that it would be easy for my blog readers to understand and apply to their practical life if so needed.
Disclaimer: I would reiterate that I am not advocating for this transfer of property as a legal consultant. This article is just for education purpose and bringing awareness among the readers. Readers are requested to seek the advice of a legal expert if so needed in the future.

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If you have any query regarding this article you can let me know in the comments section below.





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