Succession Laws in India:

The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 governs property succession and inheritance in Hindu households. This Act establishes a thorough and consistent structure for succession and inheritance. Intestate or unwilled (testamentary) succession is also addressed in this Act. As a result, this Act incorporates all aspects of Hindu succession under its scope. This article will go through the applicability, as well as the fundamental words and definitions, and succession rules for both males and females.


The application of this Act is defined in Section 2. This Act applies to anybody who practices Hinduism in any of its forms or variations, including Virashaivas, Lingayats, Brahmos, Prarthnas, and Arya Samaj followers.

Anyone who practices Buddhism, Sikhism, or Jainism as a religion.

Any other individual who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi, or Jew, unless it can be demonstrated that they are not subject to Hindu law or tradition.

This Act will apply to the whole country of India.

Important definition clause:


Section 3(1)(a) defines the term “agnate.” If two people are linked by blood or adoption solely via males, they are said to be agnates.


Section 3(1)(c) describes a person as a “cognate” of another if they are connected to each other via blood or adoption, but not just via men.


Any male or female individual who is eligible to receive the intestate’s property is an heir, according to Section 3(1)(f).


Intestate is defined as a person who dies without leaving a will, according to Section 3(1)(g).


According to Section 3(1)(i), the term “related” refers to a lawful tie between kin (kinship). Illegitimate children are considered linked to their mother and to each other, and their legitimate offspring are considered connected to them and to each other.

In the case of males, there are specific ownership rules.

In the event of males, Section 8 lays forth the broad conditions for succession. In circumstances where succession arises after the Act’s enactment, Section 8 applies. It is not essential for the death of a male Hindu whose property must be passed down through the generations to occur after the passage of this Act. For example, if a father settles his property in favour of his wife during his lifetime and desires for it to pass to his daughter after his wife’s death, and the daughter dies after the Act’s commencement, the succession will open and the property will devolve pursuant to Section 8.

Class 1 heir:

Class I heirs include the following family members:

• Son/Daughter

• Widow

• Mother

• Son/Daughter of a pre-deceased son (per-deceased means “already Dead”)

• Son/Daughter of a pre-deceased Daughter

• Widow of a pre-deceased son

• Son/Daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son (3 levels)

• Widow of a pre-deceased son of a predeceased son

The widow (or widows), mother, and each of the children (son or daughter, the law doesn’t care) each receive an equal part. When one or more of these sons or daughters dies, the Class 1 heirs in that branch will all stand together in the position left by such deceased son or daughter and divide the inheritance equally.

Legal Heirs of Class II

In the event that no Class-I heirs are found, Class-II heirs are considered. Those who are named first among the heirs designated in Class II get the property simultaneously and to the exclusion of those in succeeding entries. If the father is no longer alive, the property will be divided equally between the second and third in the list, such as “(1) Son’s daughter’s son (2) son’s daughter’s daughter, (3) brother, (4) sister,” if all heirs are alive. However, whomever is living at the time will receive an equal share of the property.

(i) Father

(ii) (1) Son’s daughter’s son (2) son’s daughter’s daughter, (3) brother, (4) sister.

 (iii) (1) Daughter’s son’s son, (2) daughter’s son’s daughter, (3) daughter’s daughter’s son, (4) daughter’s daughter’s daughter.

(iv) (1) Brother’s son (2) Sister’s son, (3) brother’s daughter (4) Sister’s daughter.

(v) Father’s father. Father’s mother.

(vi) Father’s widow, brother’s widow.

(vii) Father’s brother, father’s sister.

(viii) Mother’s father, mother’s sister.

(ix) Mother’s brother, mother’s sister.

If the person who died was a woman

If a female Hindu dies without a will, her property will be distributed according to the following rules:

(a) firstly, upon the sons and daughters (including the children of any pre- deceased son or

daughter) and the husband;

(b) secondly, upon the heirs of the husband;

(c) thirdly, upon the mother and father;

(d) fourthly, upon the heirs of the father; and

(e) lastly, upon the heirs of the mother

If a Hindu female dies intestate without issue, children, or predeceased offspring, any property received from her parents does not pass to her husband or his heirs, but instead goes to her natal family.

Similarly, if a Hindu female dies intestate without offspring, children, or predeceased offspring, any property inherited from her husband or father-in-law passes to her husband’s heirs.

As a result, any assets she inherited from her marriage would not pass to her father or his heirs.

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