Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Mother considered ‘Class 1 Heir’ of deceased

The rules for distribution of property of the deceased as per the Hindu Succession Act

My husband died last year. My father-in-law, who had three sons, including my husband, and a daughter, died earlier. He had a property in his name but he died without a will. However, my mother-in-law is refusing to give any share of my father-in-law’s property to me or my two children. What is my lawful right in the property and how do I make a claim?

—Kavya

I am assuming that you are a Hindu and accordingly, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (the “Act") would apply to you. I have also assumed that the property in question is not Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) property and was the personal self-acquired property of your father- in-law, over which he had full rights of disposition. As per the Act, in case your father-in-law died intestate (that is without a will), his property would have vested in his heirs being his relatives specified in Class I (Class I Heirs), as set out in the Act. From the facts provided by you, I understand that the Class I Heirs on your father-in law’s death would have been his wife and 4 (four) children (including your husband, since his father pre-deceased him) and that your father-in-law’s mother predeceased him (otherwise she too would have been a Class I Heir). On the death of your father-in law, each of his Class I Heirs would get an equal share in his self-acquired property. Accordingly, as per the Act, your husband would have been entitled to a one-fifth (1/5th) share of the self-acquired property of your father-in-law.

I assume that your husband died intestate and therefore on the death of your husband, you along with your children and your mother-in-law would be the “Class I Heirs" of your husband and together all of you would be entitled to the one-fifth (1/5th) share in your father-in-law’s property which had vested in your husband. You, your children and your mother-in-law would each have an equal share in your husband’s property (and in the 1/5th share which he inherited in his father’s property) and therefore each of you will have a (one-fourth)1/4th share in your husband’s property.

You and your children can therefore together claim a three-forth (3/4th) share in the one-fifth (1/5th) share of your husband in his father’s self-acquired property.

You can send a notice to the remaining heirs of your father-in law, setting out your claim as above. If they do not give you and your children a three-fourth share (in the one-fifth share) which your husband inherited from his father (to which you and your children are entitled as per the Act), you would need to file legal proceedings to claim your share in your husband’s share in his father’s property.

For more queries, go to www.livemint.com/askmintmoney

Marylou Bilawala is partner, Wadia Ghandy & Co. Advocates, Solicitors and Notaries.

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