TomorrowMakers

As a woman, here's what you need to know about your rights to your family's property.

A daughter's guide to understanding right to property

Property inheritance rights of women - single or married

Property inheritance laws have not always favoured women. That, however, changed in November 2005. At the time, the Supreme Court made an amendment, enabling women to be co-parceners (co-heirs) by birth. This means you can now ask for your share in ancestral property, before or after marriage, provided you are an adult.

Does a married daughter have any claim to her father’s property?

The Hindu Succession Amendment Act, amended in 2005, considers a woman– whether married or unmarried – a member of her father’s HUF (Hindu Undivided Family), thus granting her legal right to her father's property.
However, you can use this right only if:

  • Your father passed away after 9 September 2005.

What are your rights regarding ancestral properties, as a married woman?

Any property that is passed, undivided, down for four generations of male lineage is considered ancestral property. A property also becomes ancestral for the children if the father dies without making a will.
Under the Hindu Succession Act 1956, you share equal rights, from birth, with your siblings, and can even demand a partition of property.
This applies to living co-parceners, as of 9 September, 2005, irrespective of when they were born.
However, you cannot make any legal claim to your father’s property if:

  • He acquired it through his own means instead of merely inheriting it as an ancestral property 
  • He acquired the property through his own means and chose to exclude you from his will.

On the other hand, if the property in question is self-acquired and your father dies without making a will, it becomes ancestral property. In this case, you will have an equal right to it, along with your brother(s) and mother.

Do you have claim to your grandfather’s property, as a married woman?

Everyone has a share and right to ancestral properties, which, as explained earlier, are physical assets that pass – undivided – down four generations of male lineage, or when a father dies without making his will.
However, if the property has been acquired by your grandfather through his own means, and not inherited (i.e. it is “self-acquired”), and he dies without leaving a will, the property would devolve upon his son or daughter (your father or mother), and not on you.
You only get the property (along with any sibling, if any) in case your father passes away before your grandfather.

Can a married woman claim the property of maternal grandparents after her mother dies?

Irrespective of the category your grandparents’ property falls in (whether co-parcenary property, acquired through own skills, or inherited), your mother will be the legal heir to it, along with her siblings.