What Occurs When A Person Passes Away Intestate?

Person Passes Away Intestate: The property of a person who dies intestate, i.e. without leaving a will, is administered by specific regulations called intestacy rules. However, the norms differ vastly across locations and as per the marital status of the deceased. Here is a brief about the intestacy rules in India.

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 governs the succession laws in India. According to the Act, the inheritance of property following a person’s death can occur either through testamentary succession, or via a will, or through intestate succession, or without a will. While the distribution of property through a Will is straightforward because everything is established in advance, intestate succession presents more complicated issues.

According to Vineet Naik, Senior Advocate, Bombay High Court, the applicable personal laws govern how the assets are vested. In contrast to Muslims, who are subject to Sharia Law, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains follow the provisions outlined in the Hindu Succession Act of 1965. The Indian Succession Act, 1925, which applies to other communities including Christians and Parsees, specifies how a property should be divided among the legatees.

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1965 Hindu Succession Act

According to the Hindu Succession Act of 1965, Class I heirs would inherit a person’s property if they passed away intestate. If there are no Class I heirs, Class II heirs would get the property. The property would instead go to Agnates if neither the Class I nor Class II heirs are still living.


Person Passes Away Intestate: Class I heirs

  • Widow
  • Son/daughter
  • Mother
  • Son/daughter of a predeceased son
  • Son/daughter of a predeceased daughter
  • Widow of a predeceased son
  • Son/daughter of predeceased son of a predeceased son


Person Passes Away Intestate: Class II Heirs

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Children of siblings
  • Grandchildren of siblings


  • Distant relatives of male lineage

In the absence of Agnates, the estate is passed to Cognates.




Person Passes Away Intestate: Cognates

  • Distant blood relatives of male and female lineage

In the event the deceased does not have any relatives mentioned above, then the property goes to the State government.


If the deceased was not married, property division

The property would be divided between the parents if the dead individual was not married. If one of the parents passes away, the remaining parent will receive the inheritance. The estate would be equally split among the decease siblings in the event that both parents passed away suddenly. However, the entire estate would be divided among the agnates if there were no living parents, siblings, or descendants of siblings.

If the decease was a single parent with kids, the inheritance would be divided equally among the kids. However, the grandchildren would inherit the inheritance in the event that any of the children passed away.


Property division in the case of unmarried couples

Unmarried couples living together are not subject to the Hindu Law of Property succession. Only married couples and their relatives are recognise by the intestacy legislation as legitimate inheritors. Unless a Will expressly states the decedent’s intention to that effect, an unmarried partner cannot inherit anything from the estate of the deceased.



Person Passes Away Intestate: Muslim Law

There are two different kinds of heirs recognise by Islamic law: sharer heirs and residuary heirs. The sharer has priority over other classes of heirs and receives the stipulated proportion of the decease inheritance, as oppose to the residuary, who is not given a particular share. Anything left over after the property has been divided among the sharers is given to the residuaries. The portion made available by residuaries varies depending on the circumstance. For instance, the entire property would fall to residuaries if there are no sharers.

If only a portion of the will is legitimate and the other portions are null or void, the rules of intestacy also apply. Therefore, it is essential to create a will while you are still living that clearly outlines all the circumstances and terms of property allocation. A will is also necessary to make sure that your property passes to the legitimate successor and not to someone who could misuse it.








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