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Class II heirs can claim their rights only if there’s no Class I heir

  • Under the Hindu Succession Act 1956, legal heirs are categorised into two classes—Class I and Class II heirs
  • The first right on wealth is of Class I heirs and only if there is no one available in Class I, then relations under Class II can claim their rights

My father’s sister recently died intestate. She was unmarried and used to live alone in her self-constructed house. My aunt had two sisters and one brother (my father) but all of them died before her. Except her, everyone has two children each. There is no dispute to the property and her belongings but we want to know who will the property, gold, FDs, etc. legally belong to and in what proportion?

Radha Keshav

We have assumed that your aunt followed the Hindu religion and accordingly succession upon her demise would be covered under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

One must understand that under the Act, legal heirs are categorised into two classes—Class I and Class II heirs. The first right on wealth is of Class I heirs and only if there is no one available in Class I, then relations under Class II can claim their rights.

We have understood the family tree in terms of the facts disclosed by you. Further, your aunt who was unmarried, died without making a Will i.e. intestate, we find that there are no Class I heirs—that is to say that your aunt’s mother and/or father are not alive, both the mother and father having pre-deceased your aunt. Therefore, the self-acquired property of your aunt will come to the hands of her brother and sister. However, in this case, your aunt’s brother and sisters have predeceased her and, therefore, it would now devolve upon the heirs of her brother and sisters. Accordingly, your aunt’s self-acquired property would devolve upon the heirs of your aunt’s brother and sisters, which includes you, in such proportion and ratio which shall be determined on the number of such heirs, so as to ensure all such heirs receive an equal share in the property of your deceased aunt.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates

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