Hindu-Succession

Distribution of Property after Death – Hindu Male

Distribution of Property after Death – Hindu Male

For Hindus, testamentary succession (succession by way of Will) is as per the Indian Succession Act and intestate succession (succession without Will) is as per the Hindu Succession Act. In this article, we look in detail the process for distribution of property after death of a Hindu male as per the Hindu Succession Act.

Class 1 Heirs

The Hindu Succession Act groups the heirs of a male Hindu into four categories and lays down that his/her inheritable property devolves firstly upon the heirs specified in Class I which are as under:

  • Sons
  • Daughters
  • Widow
  • Mother
  • Son of a pre-deceased son
  • Daughter of a pre-deceased son
  • Son of a pre-deceased daughter
  • Daughter of a pre-deceased daughter
  • Widow of a pre-deceased son
  • Son of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son
  • Daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son
  • Widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son
  • Son of a predeceased daughter of a predeceased daughter
  • Daughter of a deceased daughter of a predeceased daughter
  • Daughter of a predeceased son of a predeceased daughter
  • Daughter of a predeceased daughter of predeceased son

All these heirs inherit simultaneously and to the exclusion of other heirs. In the absence of any of the heirs in this category, the property devolves upon the enumerated heirs specified in class II.

Class 2 Heirs

The devolution in Class II heirs is made in the absence of any heir in Class I and in such a manner that heirs specified in a particular entry share equally. For this purpose if more than one heir is specified in a single entry, they share the property simultaneously and equally to the exclusion of those specified in subsequent entries. Class 2 heirs include:

  • Father
  • Sons daughter’s son
  • Sons daughter’s daughter
  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Daughters son’s son
  • Daughters son’s daughter
  • Daughters daughter’s son
  • Daughters Daughter’s daughter
  • Brothers son
  • Sisters son
  • Brothers daughter
  • Sisters daughter
  • Fathers father
  • Fathers mother
  • Fathers widow
  • Brothers widow
  • Fathers brother
  • Fathers sister
  • Mothers father
  • Mothers mother
  • Mothers brother
  • Mothers sister

Agnates

In case a hindu male passes away intestate and leaves no class 1 or class 2 heirs, then the property would devolve on agnates. A person is said to be an agnate of another if the two are related by blood or adoption wholly through males. Agnate relationship does not extend to relationship by marriage and is restricted to relationship by blood. Also, agnate does not include widows of lineal descendants of the intestate.

Cognates

If a Hindu male passes away without a Will and has no class 1 or class 2 heirs or agnates, then the succession would be through cognates. Cognates are ones who are related to the intestate by blood or adoption but not wholly, through males. Thus mother’s brother’s son and brother’s daughters son are cognates, eligible for heirship.

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