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The Indian judicial system has laws that safeguard women's rights related to Will and family property. However, it is found that women, even the educated ones, are not aware of their rights. This article lists frequently asked questions and their answers on Will and family property disputes.

Frequently Asked Questions by Women on Will

Gender equality is important in every society and in every aspect of life. Wherever there is inequality in society, it is mostly the women who are disadvantaged concerning decision-making or are excluded from access to social and economic resources.

The Indian judicial system has laws that safeguard women's rights related to Will and family property. However, it is found that women, even those who are educated, are rarely aware of the rights they have. In this article, we list down frequently asked questions and their answers on Will and family property disputes.

Here are few of these questions:

If my father excludes me from his Will, can I fight for my rights?

Yes, you have a strong case to put in the court. You must prove coercion, diminished mental capacity of your father at the time of bequest, or outright fraud to have a will’s terms dismissed. Talk to your lawyer, explain to him/her your situation and understand the chances of winning the case. 

What documents do I need to fight a legal battle related to property?

The important document to fight a property dispute case is a legal heir certificate. You can get it from the Tahsildar. Also, the court should issue you a succession certificate. You should know such cases are long-running, and property dispute cases go on for at least two years.

What do these two legal terms related to succession mean - testamentary and intestate?

Before knowing any laws related to succession, you must understand these two terms. 

  • Testamentary - A Will that is registered plays an important and significant role in testamentary succession. It, infact, supersedes all laws.
  • Intestate – Intestate refers to someone who dies without having written a will. In such a scenario, all of his children will receive the same share in the property, irrespective of their gender.

What does Indian judicial law say about property rights for women?

The most important thing that you must know is that India does not have a Uniform Civil Code. It means that law in relation to inheritance and sharing of property differs for people from different faiths. There are two important laws, you must be aware of:

  1. The Hindu Succession Act, 2005: This Act is applicable to cases that do not have a will - intestate Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. 
  2. The Indian Succession Act, 1925: This Act talks about transfer of property that is held by Hindus and Muslims by a will ( i.e. testamentary succession). Parsis, Christians, and Jews are bound by The Indian Succession Act. 

Do Muslim and Christian women have an equal share in the father's property?

The short answer is Yes. In Christian law, daughters are entitled to inherit same as sons would. However, the Muslim woman's right to property is a bit different. A daughter from a Muslim family can only receive half of the share of a son. Even if the Muslim father wants to give her daughter an equal share through a will, existing laws do not permit it.

What are women's rights regarding their husbands’ property? 

The answer to the question depends on faith. The details are below:

  • Christian, Paris, and Jew women - They receive half of the share of the predeceased husband if they have no children and one-third if they have children.
  • Muslim women - They are entitled to one-eighth of the share of the predeceased husband if they have children and one-fourth if they have no children.
  • Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh women - The husband's property is equally divided between the children and the wife. Even if maintenance and alimony maintenance are properly settled, women who are divorced will have zero claim over the property of the former husband. However, their children do have right to claim. 

Also Read: 8 Scenarios When You Need To Consider Revising Your Will

Ending Note

We hope we have answered all the questions you may have around Will and property disputes. These are certain things that a woman should know about and have clarity.