Ask Mint Money | As per Hanafi law, 12 heirs can succeed a deceased Muslim

Ask Mint Money | As per Hanafi law, 12 heirs can succeed a deceased Muslim

My father, a Sunni Muslim, died recently without a will. My mother, my grandmother (his mother) and I are left in the family. He owned three two-bedroom flats in Mumbai and one three- bedroom flat in Chennai. Is there any specific law for Muslim inheritance?

—Suhana Akbar

Since your father was a Sunni Muslim, he would have belonged to the Hanafi sect of Muslims and thus the Hanafi law of inheritance will apply to him. We understand that the sole surviving heirs of your father are his mother, his wife and you (his daughter).

How will it devolve?

• Those sharers who are entitled to get fixed shares shall first be given the shares to which they are entitled

• If there is a residue, it shall devolve thus:

*If there are any residuaries, on those entitled to succeed in accordance with Hanafi law.

*If there are no residuaries, then on the sharers themselves (except the husband or wife) in accordance with Hanafi law.

• If there are no sharers (other than husband or wife) and also no residuaries, the estate shall, after the share of the husband or wife is allotted, devolve on the distant kindred.

• If the only heir is the husband or the wife, the residue after allotting his or her share shall also devolve on the husband or the wife, as the case may be.

There are rules for the eventuality when none of the above exist (when there are no sharers, residuaries or distant kindred of the deceased), but we shall not elaborate on those as they are not relevant to the query.

It must be noted that each class above, so long as its claims are not satisfied, excludes the subsequent classes. Thus, if the sharers exhaust the entire estate, nothing will go to the residuaries and so long as there are sharers and residuaries, nothing will go to the distant kindred.

Who are the heirs?

As per the Hanafi law, the following 12 heirs are entitled to succeed a deceased Mohammedan as sharers:

• Heirs by consanguinity:

* Ascendants: Father, true grandfather, mother, true grandmother

* Descendants: Daughter, son’s daughter

* Collaterals: Full sister, consanguine sister, uterine sister, uterine brother

• Heirs by affinity: Husband, wife

Property division

We understand that your father died intestate (without a will), leaving behind his mother, wife and daughter. In this situation, according to Hanafi law, the property of the deceased (estate) shall be divided as follows:

• Mother of the deceased will get one-sixth share of the estate.

• Wife of the deceased will get one-eighthth share of the estate.

• Daughter of the deceased will get half the estate.

• The residue of the property, being a little more than one-fifth of the property shall devolve upon the heirs who are the residuary heirs of the deceased. As stated above, if there are no residuaries, then the balance one-fifth will devolve on the sharers themselves (with the exception of the deceased’s wife).

Who can be the residuaries?

The following are the heirs that are possible residuaries of the deceased under Hanafi law:

• Children male or female:

*of the deceased

*of the son of the deceased (i.e. the grandchild of the deceased)

*of the father of the deceased (i.e. the brother or sister of the deceased)

• Male descendants of the true grandfather in lineal male descents.

It must be noted that a daughter can succeed either as a residuary or as a sharer and not in both capacities.

Note: Please note that the response has been given on the assumption that the sole surviving heirs of the deceased are his mother, wife and daughter. In the eventuality that any of the heirs of the deceased enumerated in the list of sharers above have survived the deceased, then the persons who are entitled to inherit and the ratio in which they inherit shall vary.

Shabnum Kajiji is partner, Wadia Ghandy & Co. Advocates, Solicitors and Notaries

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