Right to property is governed by personal and statutory laws.
Once the mother (a woman) acquires any property through will or gift or by inheritance or it a self-acquired property, she becomes the absolute owner of the same.
Under Hindu Law, the property of a mother devolves as per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (the Act). The Act applies to intestate succession.
According to Section 15 of the Act, the following persons inherit a woman’s property after her death:
- Her children
- Children of predeceased children
- Mother and Father of the deceased mother
- Heirs of husband
- Heirs of father and mother
The order of preferences is as follows:
- Firstly, the children, children of predeceased children and husband
- Secondly, heirs of the husband
- Thirdly, her mother and father
- Fourthly, heirs of her father
- Lastly, heirs of her mother
Thus if a mother dies intestate, under Hindu law, her children, children of predeceased children and her husband have an equal right to the property. In their absence, the property is inherited by other heirs as per the order of preference.
Right to mother’s property also includes right to the share of the mother in her father’s property, and children of a predeceased mother have a right to claim the deceased mother’s share in the property of her father: –
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After amendment of the 1956 Act in the year 2005, daughters are coparceners and have equal rights as a son, in the property of their father. Thus if a daughter (who is a mother also) dies before the partition of her father’s ancestral property, the children of such pre-deceased daughter have a right in the ancestral property of their maternal grandfather and can claim partition.
However, during the lifetime of the mother, only the mother has a right to claim her share in this property of her father and as a son or daughter of such mother, the person can file a suit for partition only through power of attorney executed by mother in favour of her children.
In case of self-acquired property of the father (i.e. maternal grandfather), if such father dies intestate, the son/daughter of predeceased daughter of such father are included in Class I heirs given in the schedule of the 1956 Act and have a right to claim their share.
After the partition of property in which a woman (mother) has a share, she becomes the absolute owner of her share:
Once the share of a daughter has been transferred to her after the partition of property of her father, she becomes the absolute owner of her share.
If a mother makes a will, the property bequeaths as per the will, and if the mother dies intestate, the laws of inheritance are applied as per the 1956 Act.
Distribution of the mother’s property between her son and married daughter:
Married daughter has equal right in the property of her mother as the son, and in case the mother dies intestate, the married daughter inherits her share equally with the son as per the Act of 1956.
Under Muslim Law, since the law is not codified, rights on the property of the mother are governed by personal laws.
For faiths other than Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Muslims, devolution of mother’s property after her death is governed by India Succession Act, 1925. Generally, relatives of mother inherit and have priority over her husband and husband’s relatives.
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