Home / Money / Q&a /  Hindu daughters have equal rights to ancestral property

My father died in 2011 after writing a Will in which he made a clear division of his self-acquired property. As per the Will, my brother and I will inherit the property, while my two sisters will get some cash. Now, one sister claims as per the 2005 amendment, the Will stands negated and wants an equal share. Is she right and can she go to court?

—Name withheld on request

Two aspects are involved here. Firstly, the registered Will of your father, if duly executed, would be valid and his estate i.e., movable and immovable properties have to be administered as per the Will itself. Secondly, the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, gave equal rights to daughters in ancestral property and also in the coparcenary property of her parents. However, in your case, as the Will pertains only to self-acquired properties, the 2005 amendment would not be applicable since there is a Will in existence. Therefore, though the sister is within her legal rights to challenge the Will and approach the court, we believe that her claim would not have any merits.

My elder brother expired in March 2016. He had left me and one sister as legal heirs. It has come to our knowledge that my brother had nominated the REC capital gains bonds to third parties without our knowledge. As legal heirs to enforce our rights, what is the line of action we should take? Also, if my sister is not interested in a legal case, can I proceed alone?

—Name withheld on request

We are assuming that your brother died intestate, which means without leaving behind a Will. In such a case, the property of your deceased brother will devolve upon his class I heirs as per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. In case there is no class I heirs of the deceased, his property will devolve upon class II heirs. In your situation, the only legal heirs are yourself and your sister, who will have equal rights over the property. Yes, you can proceed against these third parties by seeking her consent.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates

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