Law of Inheritance in India


According to the Indian Constitution, practicing any religion is a fundamental right. But in India there are no properly codified inheritance laws or any uniform code set out in matters of inheritance. Apart from this, succession laws are quite complicated, so Indian inheritance issues are quite problematic in general.

Hindu Succession Act

The Hindus have a codified law of succession coming down from ancient times known as the Hindu Succession Act. Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other Indians who are not Farsis, Muslims and Christians follow this law.


According to the Hindu Succession Act, the property of a Hindu male is distributed as one share each to mother, widow and living children. The descendants of a predeceased son, which include his widow and children, will have one share of the property.

Other Inheritance Laws

The laws of inheritance in India also include Islamic inheritance laws and, for Christians, the Indian Constitutional Inheritance Act.

Indian Inheritance Act

Enacted in 1865, this act says that anybody dying without a will is considered to have “died intestate.” In such cases, his widow and legitimate children are going to be the heirs of his property. One-third of his property will go to his widow, while the remaining two-thirds will go to his legitimate children and their legitimate descendants.

Inheritance of a Foreign Citizen

If a foreign citizen inherits property from a deceased Indian citizen, the respective inheritance law of his particular religion is going to apply in that case.

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