The married daughters’ right in mother’s self-acquired property

Daughter's Share The married daughters' right in mother's self-acquired property

For a long time, the concept of succession or inheritance of property has been synonymous with how and what the son will get. Right of a son in the property of his father has always been a matter of concern and discussion. 

In a society which primarily rests on the patriarchal style of relationships, it is very heartening and interesting when people seek to understand or to discuss a question relating to the right of a woman (daughter) in the property of her mother. That’s one sure sign that we have progressed in the sphere of rights of woman.

Also Read: Division of Property Among Daughters and Daughters-In-Law

A woman, thankfully, is viewed as the absolute owner of her property.

  • She has the right to deal with her property in any manner.
  • As a necessary corollary to the above, we have moved a step further and also recognize the rights of the children in the property of their mother.
  • Daughters, even though married, have the right to inherit the property of their mother.  

Remember,

  • Law has always recognised a distinction between self-acquired and ancestral property.
  • It is there primarily to decide inheritance issues.
  • Under Hindu Law, a mother becomes the absolute owner of the property – whether she gets it through a Will or as a gift or by any other means. It becomes a self-acquired property for her.  
  • If the mother has inherited ancestral property from her father (i.e. maternal grandfather of her children), although the property is ancestral, it becomes the self-acquired property of the mother. 
  • Self-acquired property of a person can be disposed of by the person in any manner.
  • No legal heir has any right over such property during the lifetime of the person.
  • It is only if the person has died intestate; the question of right in his self-acquired property arises.
  • In the case of intestate succession, the devolution of property is governed by statutory or personal laws. For persons of Hindu faith, the relevant provision of law is found in the Hindu Succession Act. 
  • During the lifetime of the mother, married daughter has no right to seek her property.

Under Hindu Law, daughters have equal rights as sons in the property of their mother.

Also Read: Daughters have equal shares in Ancestral Property, even though they were born before enactment of the Hindu Succession Act – A Judgement by Supreme Court

For right in the self-acquired property of a mother, it is essential to understand two things:

  • All the property acquired by a woman becomes self-acquired property.
  • Self-acquired property can be disposed of in any manner.
  • Any right in the self-acquired property arises whenever the person dies intestate

If a Hindu mother dies intestate, the property gets devolved as per the Hindu Succession Act.

The Act says that the property of a woman gets devolved to 

  • her children
  • the children of predeceased children 
  • her husband 

All these three legal heirs inherit equally.

There is no distinction in the Act for married or unmarried daughters. Thus whether the daughter is married or unmarried, she gets equal rights in the self-acquired property of her mother along with her brother and husband of the deceased woman. 

Read Also: Property Rights of Indian Daughters

The property of a mother also includes any share of the mother in her father’s ancestral property. Once this property is partitioned and the mother gets her share, the share becomes self-acquired property. Even if the mother has died before partition, her children can claim this share later after partition. 

In the eyes of the law, Married daughters can enforce their right by filing a suit in the court for devolution of property as per the Hindu Succession Act.

How property is divided when a man dies intestate

intestate succession

No matter however ancient is the concept of will or vasiyaat in India, it is still practiced only among the more gentry class of the country. Will is basically a legal declaration by a man with respect to inheritance of his self acquired property. But for several reasons like lack of awareness, complex family structure etc., people who die without making a will i.e. intestate is manifold times than the ones who die after making a proper will. It is for this reason that different laws have codified provisions as to how the property of a man would devolve in case he dies intestate.

Owing to the diversity, the law regarding intestate succession in India is different for different communities.

HINDUS

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governs the rules regarding intestate succession of property among Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists.  According to Section 8 of the Act, the property of the Hindu male dying intestate will devolve as following:

  • Firstly, upon the heirs specified in Class I; Sons, Daughters, Mother Widow etc
  • Secondly, if there are no heirs in Class I, then upon heirs in Class II; Father, Brother’s son, brother, sister etc
  • Thirdly, if there are no heirs in Class II, then upon the agnates of the deceased; related wholly through male lineage
  • Finally, if none of the above exists then upon the cognates of the deceased; not related wholly through male lineage

MUSLIMS

Among Muslims the law regarding intestate succession is administered by their personal Shariat Law. Muslim Law recognizes two types of heirs, the first being Sharers i.e.  Husband, Wife, Son, Daughter etc and the second being Residuaries. Although the share of each of the heir fluctuates depending on the circumstances.

OTHERS

For other communities like Christians, Parsi and Jews the Indian Succession Act, 1925 comes into play. Part V of the act deals with intestate succession. The provisions under the act are much simple than other acts. If a man dies intestate then his widow and his children, male and female, all inherits equally.

Thus, the above laws ensure that no conflict as to inherence of property arises after the death of the person and also ensures distribution of property among all his heirs in the most justifiable manner. However, to avoid any further discord, lawyers always advise to make a will before the death of the person but laws of intestate succession are also adequate enough for apt disposition of property.