दिल्ली उच्च न्यायालय विधिक सेवाएँ समिति



What is an ancestral property under Hindu Law?

An ancestral property is a property which has been inherited up to three generations of male lineage i.e. it is the property that descends from father, father�s father, father�s father�s father and this right of property accrues to a member of the Joint Hindu Family on birth.

What are the incidents of ancestral property?

The incidents of ancestral property are that:

  • It should be four generations old.
  • The property should not have been divided by the members.
  • The person has the right over the property from the birth.
  • The shares are first determined for each generation and subdivided for the successive generation.
  • How ancestral property is divided?

    The ancestral property is divided per stripes which means that the share of each generation is first determined and the successive generations share in turn is sub-divided. Each generation inherits from its predecessors.

    What is partition?

    The partition is the process for division of jointly-owned property by two or more co-owners. The ancestral property can be divided on the basis of making a family partition agreement i.e., the partition deed.

    Is it necessary to register a partition deed?

    Yes, one is required to register the partition deed at the office of the Sub-Registrar.

    What happens when this ancestral property is divided and partition takes place?

    Whenever a partition of ancestral property takes place, the nature of the ancestral property changes and it becomes a self-acquired property. Thus, when a person inherits property from his father, it becomes his self acquired property in which his children do not acquire any right by birth.

    What is self-acquired property?

    Self earned or self-acquired property refers to the property:

  • acquired by a person from his own resources or
  • which he has inherited under the Law of Succession or
  • acquired through Will or
  • which has come to him after partition of ancestral or joint property.
  • What is a Will?

    A Will or a Testament means a document made by a person whereby he expresses how his property should be disposed of. In other words, a Will is a document which ensures that your wishes with respect to your assets and property are followed after your death.

    What are the terms "Testator", "Legatee/Beneficiary" and "Executor" referred to?

    Testator is a person making a Will. Legatee/Beneficiary is a person who inherits the property under a Will. The executor is the legal representative for all purposes of a deceased person and all the property of the testator vests in him until the property is distributed as per the provisions of the Will. The property vests in the executor only for the purpose of representation and administration.

    Is there a particular form or format in which a Will is to be drawn?

    No, there is no prescribed format for a Will. It only needs to expressly state in what manner does the testator wishes his property to be disposed of, after his death. However, in order for it to be effective, it needs to be properly signed and attested by the testator and by two witnesses. Further, the Will must be initialled by the testator at the end of every page and next to any correction or alteration.

    Who can draw a Will?

    Any person who is not a minor and is of a sound mind can draw his Will

    Which property can be bequeathed by Will?

    Only separate and self-acquired property can be disposed of by Will but not the undivided share in the ancestral property. The only exception in this regard is provided by Section 30 of the Hindu Succession Act which lays down that the interest of a male Hindu in Mitakshra coparcenary property is a property that can be disposed of by him by Will.

    Is there any stamp duty required for executing a Will?

    No, there is no stamp duty required to be paid for executing a Will. A Will can be drawn on a plain paper.

    Is registration of a Will compulsory?

    In India, the registration of a Will is not compulsory at all. The non-registration of a Will does not lead to any inference against the genuineness of a Will. In other words, registration does not give any special sanctity to the Will though registration of the Will by the testator himself evidences the genuineness of the Will.

    What is the procedure for registration of a Will?

    A Will may be got registered with the registrar/sub-registrar of the area where the property is situated with a nominal registration fee. The testator must be personally present at the registrar�s office along with witnesses.

    Can a Will be revoked?

    A Will can be revoked, changed or altered by the testator at any time when he is competent to dispose of his property. A person can revoke, change or alter his Will by executing a new Will, revoking the earlier Will, registering the new Will (if the old Will is registered), destroying the old Will.

    What happens if a person dies without executing a Will?

    In case a Hindu dies without executing a Will, his property is inherited by the Legal Heirs mentioned in the provisions of The Hindu Succession Act. For other religions, it is the provision of Indian Succession Act, 1925 (with respect to inheritance) which come into play. It may, however, be noted that the provisions of Indian Succession Act, do not apply to a Muslim testator and it is The Muslim Personal Laws which governs this succession in such cases.