Distribution of Property after Death

Distribution of Property after Death

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 mainly deals with the distribution of the property of a person after death in India. Under the Indian Succession Act, the distribution of the property after death is divided mainly into two parts, intestate succession, and testamentary succession. Intestate succession takes place according to the law of inheritance applicable to the deceased person (based on religion) in which the deceased person had no choice or preference as to the distribution of his/her property. Testamentary succession takes place when the deceased person has created a Will, directing the distribution of property after his/her death.

Testamentary Succession – Passing away with Will

The law enables all citizens of India holding property to decide the person(s) entitled to his/her property after death. The property distribution is done through the creation of Will as per the wish of the deceased. Hence, any person who wishes to pass on property NOT as per the laws of inheritance applicable to him/her can do so by creating a Will. Succession as per the Will or any other testamentary document is testamentary succession.

Intestate Succession – Passing away without Will

If a person passes away without a Will is intestate succession. In such cases, the property distribution is done as per the inheritance law applicable to the deceased person.

Applicability of Indian Succession Act Based on Religion

India is a land of diversity and the Indian population consists of people having varied languages, religions, faith, and culture. To accommodate the various cultures and preferences and the specific rules set forth by the religion’s laws, the distribution of the property of a person after death is based on the religion of the deceased person.

Indian Succession Act, 1925

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 is the principal legislation dealing with matters like the creation of Will or distribution of property after the death of a person. The Indian Succession Act applied to persons other than Muslims and to Hindus only in the case of testamentary succession. However, as per laws to succession in India, the word Hindu has a wider meaning to include Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. Hence, the Indian Succession Act does not apply to intestate succession to properties of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, and Muslims.

Hindu Succession Act, 1956

Hindu Succession Act, 1956 applies to intestate succession amongst Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and any other person, not being Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion unless it is provided that such a person is not governed by Hindu Law. A person exempted from the Hindu Succession Act are subject to the Indian Succession Act, 1956.

Testamentary succession for Hindus is as per the Indian Succession Act, 1925. Hence, any person who leaves a valid Will, being a Hindu as per the Act would be governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1956.

Mohammedans Law

The courts in India apply Mohammedan law to Mohammedans in matters relating to succession and inheritance. The Shariat Act, 1937 provides that intestate succession, including personal property inherited or obtained under contract or gift or any other provisions of personal law, are to be governed by personal law when the parties are Muslims.

Hence, the distribution of property after the death of a Mohammedan is as per the Mohammedan Law viz. the Quran, Hadis, Ijmaa, and Qiyas.

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