An inheritance is a very important right because it involves the interest of both the person whose property is being inherited, as well as that of the person who is going to inherit it, which is why the wishes of both parties should be prioritized in order to ensure that the property is transferred to the proper recipient. This is because inheritance is not just about the financial and property assets he or she has left behind; it is also about their love, legacy, and memories. However, inheritance becomes a complicated legal matter in the absence of a Will, and in law, there’s no place for emotions. So, let us understand some of the most common legal aspects associated with inheritance in the case of intestate death (without a Will).
When a person dies without a Will, their assets are distributed according to the laws of the jurisdiction where they lived at the time of their death. This is known as intestate succession. These laws vary by state or country, but generally, the assets are distributed among the deceased person's closest relatives, such as spouse, children, parents, and siblings.
Assets may go to the state in the absence of a Will and if there are no living relatives.
The process of settling an intestate estate is way more complex and time-consuming than if there had been a Will, as in intestate succession first death certificate of the Testator would be needed then all the potential heirs are identified and located, then their relationship with the deceased person is determined (succession certificate is also required), and finally any disputes or conflicts that may arise are resolved. This involves a huge amount of time as well as money.
The current scenario of Indian Hindu Women dying without a Will through Supreme Court Ruling
The Supreme Court in a very famous case (appeal from the judgment of Madras High Court) has ruled that if a female Hindu dies intestate (without making a Will) and without leaving any issue, then the property which she inherited from her father or mother would go to the heirs of her father and the property which she inherited from her husband or father-in-law will get transferred to the heirs of the husband.
In case a female Hindu dies leaving behind her husband or any issue, then Section 15(1)(a) of the Hindu Succession Act will come into operation and the assets that are left behind including the properties that she inherited from her parents would be transferred simultaneously to her husband and her issues.
So it is clear that the transfer of property would be governed by the Hindu Succession Act in the absence of a legally valid Will.
Inheritance of minors
It is possible for parents to bequeath their self-acquired property to whoever they choose in their Wills.As per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956/2005, children are Class I heirs in case of an intestate death. Even though they are the legal heirs, they do not have any legal authority over their inheritance until they turn 18. Minor children will have a guardian appointed by the court to manage their inheritance.
If the parents write a Will, they can appoint a guardian of their choice for their minor children. You can also set up a beneficiary trust for minors to protect their inheritance until they turn 18 years old.
Hence, no matter what the scenario is, a Will is always preferable to avoid conflicts and ensure the wishes of the testator.
AasaanWill is dedicated to provide a solution by helping the self independent and self motivated women, Parents or any individual to transfer their hard earned assets as per their own choice by preventing the automatic application of Hindu Succession Act, so that the property gets transferred to whomsoever they wish and their assets are utilized optimally. AasaanWill Zaroori Hai!