Succession in the Hindus is governed by the Hindu succession Act, 1956, which bases its rule of succession on the basic principle of propinquity, i.e., preference to heirs on the basis of proximity of relationship. Earlier females were excluded, however this rule of exclusion of females has been done away with.
The law of intestate succession is concerned with matters as to who are the Heirs, what are the rules of preference among the various relations, in what manner is the property distributed in case there is more than one heir and so on.
INTESTATE SUCCESSION- A person who dies without making a will is known as intestate. An heir is a person entitled to inherit property after the death of the intestate
The Hindu Succession Act applies to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Act applies to all Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas, Sikhs and to any other person who is not a Muslim Christian, Parsi or Jew.
SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT
If a Hindu marries a non-Hindu under the Special Marriage Act, he shall be severed from the undivided family. However if two persons who are Hindus get married under the Special Marriage Act no such severance takes place.
If a Hindu marries a non-Hindu under the Special Marriage Act succession to the property of such person whose marriage is solemnized under this Act and to the property of the issue of such marriage shall be regulated by the provisions of the Indian Succession Act. However if two persons who are Hindus get married under the Special Marriage Act the above provision does not apply and they are governed by the Hindu Succession Act.
Joint Family Property
Under the Mitakshara School, the joint family property devolves by survivorship.
When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of this Act having at the time of his death an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenery property, his interest in the property shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenery and not in accordance with this Act.
However if the Mitakshara dies leaving behind a female relative or male relative claiming through Class I, this undivided interest will not devolve by survivorship but by succession as provided under the Act.
General rules of succession-Male
The property of the male Hindu dying intestate shall devolve in the following manner
Firstly upon all the heirs, being the relatives specified in Class I;
Secondly, if there is no heir of Class I, then upon heirs being the relatives specified in Class II;
Thirdly if there is no heir of any of the the classes, then upon the agnates of the deceased; (one person is said to be agnate of another if the two are related by blood or adoption wholly through males) and;
Lastly, if there is no agnate, then upon the cognates of the deceased. (One person is said to be a cognate of another if the two are related by blood or adoption but not wholly through male)
CLASS Ist HEIRS
Son of a predeceased son
Daughter of predeceased son
Widow of predeceased son
Son of a predeceased daughter
Daughter of predeceased daughter
Son of predeceased so of predeceased son
Daughter of predeceased son of a predeceased son
Widow of predeceased son of a predeceased son
CLASS IInd HEIRS
- (i) Son's daughter's son, (ii) son's daughter's daughter, (iii) brother, (iv) sister
- (i) Daughter's son's son, (ii) daughter's son's daughter, (iii) daughter' daughter's son, (iv) daughter's daughter's daughter.
- (i) Brother's son, (ii) sister's son, (iii) brother's daughter, (iv) sister's daughter.
- Father's father; father's mother.
- Father's widow; brother's widow.
- Father's brother; father's sister.
- Mother's father; mother's mother
Mother's brother; mother's sister.
Class I heirs take simultaneously to the exclusion of all other heirs Heirs in the first entry of Class II shall be preferred to those in the second entry; those in the second entry shall be preferred to those in the third entry; and so on in succession.
General Rules of Succession-Female
The property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve:
firstly, upon the sons and daughters (including the children of any predeceased son or daughter) and the husband;
secondly upon the heirs of the husband;
thirdly, upon the mother and father;
fourthly, upon the heirs of the father; and;
lastly, upon the heirs of the mother
However, if any property is inherited by a female Hindu from her father or Mother it shall devolve in the absence of any son of daughter of the deceased (including the children of any predeceased son or daughter) not upon the heirs referred to above but upon the heirs of the father; and any property inherited by a female Hindu from her Husband or from her father in law shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any predeceased son or daughter) not upon their referred to above, but upon the heirs of the husband.