Division of Property Among Daughters and Daughters-In-Law

Division of Property Among Daughters and Daughters-In-Law

Daughters and daughter – in – laws are on different footing when it comes to shares they receive on division of property in a family. Devolution of property by inheritance or succession is influenced by personal laws and is governed by various statutes.

Position of daughters: Equal right as a son

In the case of Hindus (Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists) division of property is governed by Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

Hindu law recognises the concept of a Hindu Undivided family. Only males up to four generations (lineal descendants from a common ancestor) are coparceners, and all others are members of the family. After the amendment of 2005 in the 1956 Act, daughter whether married or unmarried is a coparcener. After marriage, daughter ceases to be a member of father’s HUF but still, she is a coparcener. A daughter has the rights and liabilities of a coparcener.

  • She can demand partition, has a birthright in the undivided family property.
  • She can be a Karta also, i.e. head of the family if she is the eldest coparcener.
  • If the daughter dies intestate, her share in the HUF property passes by succession to her legal heirs as per section 15 of the 1956 Act.
  • A daughter is a coparcener but a daughter in-law is only a member of joint family.

In case of self-acquired property of the father, son or daughter has no birthright in the same. If the father dies intestate, devolution of property takes place as per rules of 1956 Act under which daughter is covered as Class I heir and has an equal right along with son and other legal heirs.

Read: Do grandchildren have a right to their grandfather’s property?

Daughters also have a share in mother’s property. Daughters and sons have equal rights in the property of their mother.

Position of daughter- in- law: Limited Rights

A daughter in law has no right in the ancestral or self-acquired property of her in-laws.

After the death of her husband, i.e. as a widow, she has the right in her husband’s property left behind by him. This property can be either ancestral or self-acquired. The right acquired by her is as a widow of the deceased husband.

Thus if a father dies intestate, a daughter has an equal right in his property along with her brother, but the daughter in law has no right in the property of her father- in law till the time her husband is alive. After the death of her husband, she is entitled to get the share in the property of her husband along with his other legal heirs.

Read: Property rights of a daughter in a hindu family

The daughter in law has a right to residence only till the time matrimonial relationship exists with her husband. The right of residence is there even if the house is a rented accommodation. If the property is a self-acquired property of her father in law, daughter in law has no right of residence as the said house is not shared house because the husband has no share in it.

A widowed daughter in law has right of maintenance from her father in law under certain conditions only, as prescribed in Hindus Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.

Division of property:

When there is a division of property in a joint Hindu Family, the daughters enjoy equal right along with sons. The daughter in law has no right in the property of her in-laws. She acquires rights to the in-law’ property only through her husband.

The daughter in one family becomes daughter in law in another family after her marriage. She has full rights in the property of her father even after marriage but limited rights in the property of her in-laws.

Effects of Family Disputes on the Partition of Property in India

Effects of Family Disputes on the Partition of Property in India

Family disputes can lead to a forced partition. Partition of property takes place when there is joint ownership of two or more persons in property, and each of them wants to have a separate share. Partition of property comes with financial and legal implications.

The partition of property in India is governed by Partition Act and Personal laws of inheritance.

Effects of Partition:

  • Once the partition is effected, joint ownership is terminated, and each co-owner becomes the absolute owner of his share and is free to deal with it.
  • When shares of all co-owners are severed, it is partition. When one co-owner is separated, and others continue as joint, it is separation of shares.
  • It involves the transfer and surrender of rights in the property.
  • The property gets divided or is sold, and the proceeds are distributed.

Ancestral or Self Acquired Property:

The property can be ancestral property or self-acquired. Self-acquired property cannot be partitioned during the lifetime of the person who acquired it.

A partition can be effected at the instance of any one of the co-owner and consent of all is not required.

Share of each co-owner:

Share of the co-owners if not defined, needs to be ascertained during partition so that each gets the appropriate share. It is always better to take expert legal assistance to avoid unnecessary disputes.

Family Disputes and Partition:

Family disputes arise more often in case of joint family property. Partition of joint family property can be effected by:

  • Amicable Settlement
  • Forced Settlement – By Arbitration /by court

Amicable Settlement:

Family arrangement – The family arrangement can be done amicably. The members negotiate and settle for their share as per mutually agreed terms and conditions. The family arrangement can be oral or written.

If the family arrangement is only a record of what has been settled, it may be reduced in writing and need not be registered. However, if the document is to be used as an evidence of settlement, then the document is registered.  A partition deed can be executed when the partition takes place with mutual consent.  The partition deed clearly defines the share of each co-owner. The deed is registered, and stamp duty is paid.

Forced Settlement:

Filing a partition suit –If there is a dispute and no amicable solution is there, partition suit is filed, and settlement is arrived at through intervention of the court. The court may physically divide the property, or distribute the sale proceeds of the property.

Court proceedings are time-consuming and at times, a drain on resources. It is better to settle the disputes amicably out of court.

Share of each co-owner is assessed, either with mutual consent or the court appoints a local commissioner for ascertaining the respective shares.

Partition by Arbitration:

An arbitrator is appointed by all the members of the joint family to decide their share and divide the property accordingly.

Partition in case of HUF

Hindu Undivided Family is a concept where all the members are a lineal descendant of a common ancestor. All have equal right in the property. People go for HUF status to avail tax benefits. There is a presumption in case of HUF that assets of HUF are joint property unless the contrary is proved. Only coparceners, i.e. members limited to four generations can seek partition. Daughters married or unmarried can also be coparceners. When partition takes place, all assets are equally divided among all the members.   

Travel to India not mandatory for partitioning property in India

Partition of shared ownership of property in India

Partition of shared ownership of property in India, whether between family members or co-owners, is a common phenomenon. With the trend of Nuclear families on the rise, it is becoming more frequent for people to have to deal with a fight for assets or carry out partition mutually.

Dilemma of Partition of shared ownership of property among family members

Shared Ownership Partition of Property in India

We have had several such instances of people trying to battle it out and get their rightful shares.

  • Jayant Bhatia is yet another citizen of India who faced problems related to Shared Ownership of Property and its division.
  • He and his family members had to go through a lot of grind to get their property. Unable to get suitable assistance from anywhere, he contacted the Global Support Centre of NRI Legal Services in Birmingham.
  • He elucidated the issues he was facing concerning his property in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • His grandfather owned their family property, and after his death, it was passed on jointly to Jayant’s father and aunt.
  • Jayant and his family had been living a very comfortable life in the UK. They had no interest in going back to India and thus were interested in selling their land.
  • To their utter shock, his aunt (custodian of the property in India) and her family started creating problems for them on this matter.
  • A few years back, in 2007, he even filed a case against them hoping to get justice. Unluckily they lost the case. On top of that, they couldn’t even get a stay order.

A way out of the predicament

Jayant was utterly baffled and annoyed by the uncooperative attitude that he faced from all directions. He was determined to find a definite way out of this situation and took his friend’s advice to reach out to the NRI Legal Services for help.

He told us that he didn’t want anything beyond what was rightfully his. All he wanted was a fair share in the shared ownership of property. The total property totalled to about 150-acre land and four shops that he owned as much as his aunt. He was quite shocked and disturbed that even though they were members of the same family, they couldn’t find out a way amicably.

partitioning property in India

The legal team in action

Without further ado, the NRI Legal Services team got into action and collected all the related information from Pune. They had several meetings and discussions and made sure that all the relevant documents were present, and they weren’t missing out on any detail. The lawyers carried out the valuation of the property and told his aunt about different possibilities for the division.

The most comforting thing for Jayant’s father was that they were spared the hassles of travelling back and forth to India to sort out the matter. Regular calls and emails, and additionally video calls, helped them stay completely informed about the situation. All the details about the progress and status of the case were given to Jayant and his father without any delay. They did not have to pursue the legal services team to get the information. The team was efficient, dedicated and extremely punctual.

All that it takes…

The transparency, proficiency and hard-work displayed by the team made it possible to get the desired results sooner than ever expected. The backbone of the success in this case was timely communication. The client was informed about the intricacies of the process throughout the case. This made Jayant well aware of the formalities involved in partition of shared ownership of property. He now educates people on the need and benefits of getting these done well in time.