Section 3(1) clause (f) of Hindu Succession act describes heir as any person, male or female, who is authorised to succeed to the property of an intestate(person dying without making a will).In accordance with Indian law, someone who is resolved to inherit an ancestor’s estate who passed away without leaving a will or naming a legal heir may do so. As a result, a legal heir is a person who inherits an ancestor’s property legally or through a will.When a deceased person does not formalise a final will and testament, that person’s legal right to receive an inheritance belongs to an heir. Children, descendants, or other close relatives of the deceased are typically the heirs who inherit the property. An inheritance is the percentage of a deceased person’s estate that is left to an heir. Intestate death occurs when a person passes away without leaving a will, and the distribution of their assets is decided by the probate court.
TYPES OF HEIRS
There are numerous distinct categories of heirs, such as the following:
1.Heir Apparent-A person who is popularly believed to be the heir apparent is the
one who will receive the inheritance.
2.Presumptive heir-A presumptive heir is someone who, in the current situation,
would be regarded as an heir, but whose right to inherit could be revoked by the
possibility of a person who was born more recently.
3.Adoptive Heir-A lawfully adopted child who shares the same rights as the parents’
biological offspring is referred to as a “adoptive heir.”
4.Collateral heir-A relative who is not a direct descendant but is nonetheless a
family member is referred to as a collateral heir.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEIRS AND BENEFICIARIES
In terms of law, beneficiaries—those named in a will or other legal documents as the intended heir to a decedent’s assets—differ from heirs. However, strictly speaking, this usage of the word is factually incorrect, as the proper term for such a person is a “beneficiary,” which legally defines an individual who is entitled to collect the property, as prescribed by a will, trust, or incapacity. While the term “heir” legally refers to a person who receives the property of an individual who died intestate, in common parlance, the word “heir” is frequently used to describe those inheriting property. Not all heirs are beneficiaries, for instance, when a distant adult kid is purposefully excluded from a will.Like beneficiaries, not all heirs are beneficiaries. One can name a friend or companion as the recipient of property, for instance. Because he is not the decedent’s child or other close relative, the friend in this situation is not an heir and would not inherit anything if he passed away intestate. However, the friend is properly referred to as a beneficiary because they are the people who will benefit from the decedent’s will or other arrangements. The term “heiress” is frequently used to describe a female heir, especially when the bequest entails considerable money.
LEGAL HEIR CERTIFICATE
A Legal Heir Certificate must be obtained to verify the heir’s kinship to the deceased when there has been a sudden death in the family. It is a crucial document needed to claim a deceased person’s assets, provident fund, pension, and other gratuity benefits, including those provided by the federal and state governments. A Legal Heir Certificate is useful in India if the deceased did not nominate anyone. Moreover, legal certificates are required for the transfer of deposits, balances, investments, shares, and other assets by banks and private businesses.
Benefits of Heir Certificate
1.There is no dependency on a will.When a person dies intestate the, in his absence, the property of the deceased will be distributed among the successors according to the legal heir certificate.
2.In cases where verification of sales deeds, a legal heir certificate needs to be attached with it, so the certificate gets used in this case.
3.A legal certificate helps a person to claim on P.F, gratuity and other employee benefits.
4.A legal certificate also comes in scene when a person claims over insurance policy benefits of the deceased.
5.A legal certificate can also be used to inherit the deceased bank balance.
However there are few conditions which is to be fulfilled for applying to receive a legal heir certificate, which are as follows:-
a)The applicant for a Legal Heir certificate must meet the legal requirements for being a Legal Heir.
b)The applicant must receive the dead person’s death certificate.
c)2 Rupee court fee stamps must be attached.
d)If there is a question about who is the legal heir, the revenue officer cannot issue a legal heir certificate.
e)You must present an original death certificate.
f)Application form using the format required by law.
self-declaration affidavit on non-judicial stamp paper costing 20 rupees.
There are few documents required for legal heir certificate, which are, name of deceased person, relationship between applicant and deceased and applicant’s name, signature of the applicant, address where the applicant resides.
LEGAL HEIRS IN HINDU SUCCESSION ACT
According to section 8 of Hindu succession act, if a hindu dies intestate, the property shall devolve, firstly on the class I heirs of the schedule, if there is no class I heirs present it will devolve upon the class II heirs, further if there are no class II heirs in that case it will pass to the agnates of the deceased and if there are no agnates it will pass to the cognates of the deceased.
Now under this act it is necessary to know that who are the Class I and Class II heirs in the Schedule present in this act.
First we will learn about who are present under Class I heirs, and they are son; daughter; widow; mother; son of a predeceased son; daughter of a predeceased son; son of a predeceased daughter; daughter of a predeceased daughter; widow of a predeceased son; son of a predeceased son of a predeceased son; daughter of a predeceased son of a predeceased son; widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son.However after the 2005 amendment of hindu succession act, son of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-deceased of a pre-deceased daughter, daughter of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-deceased daughter, daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased daughter, daughter of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-deceased son.
If there is no heir left from the above Class I schedule, the property will devolve to class II to heirs
Class II heirs are as follows:-
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 mother.
IX. Mother’s brother; mother’s sister.
The property or assets of a Hindu female dying intestate (i.e without making a will) is transferred to The daughters and sons (this includes the children of any dead son or daughter) and the husband, the heirs of the husband, the mother and father, the heirs of the father and the heirs of the mothers.
Widow’s Rights -A woman (widow) has a right to her husband’s self-acquired property or properties as a Class I heir, but she does not have a title to her husband’s ancestral property.
Children’s Rights -Indian succession law stipulates that a son only has a right to his father’s and grandfather’s property by virtue of his birth. Additionally, a son shares the same property rights as his father. When a person dies without leaving a will and owns separate property or self-acquired property, his son, living mother, sister, grandmother, and brother all have equal rights to the estate.
Daughters’ Rights -Prior to 2005, only the right portion of the ancestral property was distributed.The amendment of 2005 recognised daughters as coparceners.In the case Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, the Supreme Court put an end to the most bitter controversy. After making some significant observations, the Supreme Court determined in this recent case that daughters have the same full rights by birth as sons and that the father’s death date is not relevant, even if he went away before the amendment was enacted. As a result, the Hindu Succession Act’s provision was construed, and ever then, females are recognised the same as coheirs and are granted the same property rights as sons at birth.
Adopted child rights -In India, an adopted kid’s inheritance rights are essentially identical to those of a child who was born naturally. It’s also important to know that a youngster who has been adopted loses all inheritance rights to his birth family. However, if he/she purchases a property prior to adoption, it will remain solely in his/her name.
Rights of a child born to a live-in couple -The prestigious Supreme Court of India granted the children born in a live-in relationship custody rights in the Vidyadhari v. Sukhrana Bai case in 2008.The Supreme Court ruled in Vidyadhari v. Sukhrana Bai that, children born out of a live-in relationship should be accorded the status of “legal heirs” and be eligible to inherit the property of both parents.Prior to 2010, children born in a live-in relationship were regarded legally as being “illegitimate.” In Bharata Matha v. R. Vijaya Renganathan, the Supreme Court decided that children born out of the live-in relationship are legal and affirmed their right to inherit the property. Although Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA) tacitly legitimises such children and gives them the right to inherit, it does not explicitly acknowledge the live-in relationship. The Supreme Court ruled in Vidyadhari v. Sukhrana Bai that, children born out of a live-in relationship should be accorded the status of “legal heirs” and be eligible to inherit the property of both parents.
HEIIRS UNDER MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW
The heirs under Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 are, legal husband, wife which includes multiple wives even the divorced wife, only if she is on iddat period, son, however step, adopted and illegitimate son is not entitled to the property, similarly daughter is also entitled to property but adopted, step and illegitimate daughter is not entitled to the property,Grandson but is only entitled to son’s son and not daughter’s son, granddaughter but only entitled to son’s daughter, father and mother but step or illegitimate parents are not entitled, grandfather but only father’s father is entitled to property, maternal and paternal grandmother is entitled to property, brother (entitled to all brothers sharing same father and mother) and sister(entitled to all sisters sharing same father and mother),paternal brother, paternal sister, maternal brother, maternal sister, nephew but only brother’s son is entitled for this, paternal nephew, son of full brother’ son,son of paternal brother’s son, full brother of the father, paternal brother of the father, son of father’s full brother, son of father’s paternal brother, son of father’s full brother’s son, son of father’s paternal brother’s son, son of father’s full brother’s son’s son, son of father’s paternal brother’s son, son of father’s full brother’s son’s son,son of Father’s paternal brother’s son’s son.
HEIRS ACCORDING TO OTHER PERSONAL LAWS
According to the Indian Succession Act, 1925, Section 32, provides the legal heirs who are entitled to receive the property of a Christian person.According to the Indian Succession Act, 1925, section 54, provides the legal heirs who are entitled to receive the property of a Parsi person.
The practise of passing on, or rather transferring, a person’s legal heir’s possessions, titles, debts, rights, and duties upon that person’s passing is known as inheritance. Either a will or the laws of succession can do this. Religions, cultures, and local communities all have different laws governing inheritance.
Losing a family member is the greatest agony there is, but dealing with any form of family conflict over the inheritance of property is also the greatest pain, in our opinion. However, due to a lack of understanding regarding property inheritance, this occurs in India. Real estate prices are at an all-time high during an inflationary period, thus it is naturally necessary for legal heirs to protect the property before and after the death of the legitimate or real owner of the property.To acquire ownership the legal owners are bound to go through some formalities which is necessary in the eyes of law.
- 1.https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/legal-heir-registration/ (India Fillings)
- 2..https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/heir.asp (Investopedia)
- 3.Hindu Succession Act.
- 4.4.Indian Succession Act,1925.
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