Home / Money / Personal Finance /  Can a widow claim right to the property of her deceased son?

A widow, who had a son (married with no child) and a daughter (married), was bereaved recently when both her son and his wife, who were living separately, died of covid. Is it possible to get the son’s house transferred in the name of the mother?

—Name withheld on request


We assume that they are Hindu by faith. Based on the facts, we understand that the house where the late son and daughter-in-law resided belonged to the son, and that the son passed away without executing a Will.

In the absence of a Will, the devolution of assets is governed by the framework of intestate succession as per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (HSA). As per the rules of intestate succession under HSA, the son’s house shall be equally distributed among his Class 1 legal heirs.

Since the mother is the only surviving Class 1 heir of the deceased person, the house would devolve upon her as the only surviving legal heir.

In relation to the applicable procedure, depending on the location of the property, the mother may be required to obtain a grant of letters of administration from the relevant court having jurisdiction.

Assuming this procedure is applicable, and post the same, in order to reflect a change in title of the property records, the mother is required to submit a certified, true copy of the letters of administration with the Registrar of Sub-Assurances along with relevant property documentation (i.e. sale agreement, property records, electricity/gas/water/telephone bill) for verification.

Accordingly, a change title of the house (i.e. from the son to the mother) would be changed in the land revenue records. Further, the mother may also make relevant applications to the local municipal authorities for implementing a change in electricity, gas and water bill.

Given the complexities and nuances of the above process, we recommend that the mother appoint a local counsel to assist her.

Rishabh Shroff is partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

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