Distribution of Women’s Assets after her death if she dies without will

Distribution of Women’s Assets after her death if she dies without will

If 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. The Right to property is governed by personal and statutory laws.

This article will throw light on the Distribution of Women’s Assets after her death if she dies without will.

What Hindu Law says about it?

According to Section 15 of the Act, the following persons inherit a woman’s property after her death:

  • Her children
  • Children of predeceased children
  • Husband
  • Mother and Father of the deceased mother
  • Heirs of husband
  • Heirs of father and mother

The order of preferences is as follows:

  • The children, children of predeceased children and husband
  • Heirs of the husband
  • Her mother and father
  • Heirs of her father
  • 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.

Does Right to mother’s property also include right to the share of the mother in her father’s property?

The answer to this question is ‘Yes’. 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.

Right of Daughters

 In a case of Ninitha Sharma Vs. Rakesh Sharma the Supreme Court held that daughters will have equal coparcenary rights in Hindu Undivided Family properties, irrespective of whether the father was alive or not on 9 September 2005, when an amendment came into force.

Asserting that this right under Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, is acquired by birth, the bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra, S. Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah, observed, “The provisions contained in substituted section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 confer status of coparcener on the daughter born before or after amendment in the same manner as a son with same rights and liabilities.”

The court was dealing with an interpretation of Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, after it was amended in 2005. The amendment gave equal rights to daughters in ancestral property.

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.

Judicial Precedent

Recently, in the case of Arunachala Gounder (dead) by LRS. v/s Ponnusamy and Ors. The Supreme Court ruled that Father’s heirs to be entitled to inherent property of Hindu females who die intestate without leaving any issue. 

The division bench of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari noted that the legislative intent of enacting Section 14 (I) of the Act was to remedy the limitation of a Hindu woman who could not claim absolute interest in the properties inherited by her but only had a life interest in the estate.

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