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What is Ancestral Property & How to Claim/Sell Share?
As you are probably aware, claiming rights to inherited property can be a long and complicated process. However, that does not mean that you should avoid the process. The law of inheritance in India enables individuals to claim right over the assets that their ancestors left.
Do you want to know more about what ancestral property is? Find out all about it and the proper ways to claim a share of such property from this article.
What Is Ancestral Property?
Ancestral property refers to a property or land parcel that belonged to an individual’s ancestors. These are immovable assets that you inherit from your ancestors. If you are the legal heir of a deceased property owner, you can inherit it as ancestral property. The Hindu Succession Act 1956 reveals two types of ancestral properties, including joint properties and separate properties.
How Many Generations Can Claim Ancestral Property?
Now that you are aware of this concept, you must be curious to know who the legal heirs of ancestral property are. When it comes to classified ancestral property, four generations of the male lineage can claim an ancestral property. It means that A has a property, and his son B, grandson C and great-grandson D will be able to inherit.
When someone inherits a property from about three generations above him, it will continue to pass on to three generations below him. So, for example, once B inherits it from his father, it will pass on to his son, grandson and great-grandson.
On the other hand, this property distribution should be undivided. For example, if A distributes his property equally among multiple children, it will no longer be ancestral property. Instead, it becomes a self-acquired property of the individual heirs. This means that this distribution should be undivided to keep it ancestral for four generations.
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What Is the Share of Father and Son in Ancestral Property?
The ownership right of the father (current owner) is equal to that of the son. However, each generation’s share is determined first, and then the share of the successive generations is subdivided. Thus, the percentage of shares will keep subdividing from the main share. The fourth generation will therefore have a negligible share of this property. Thus, this is the process if you wonder how ancestral property is divided in India.
What Is the Share of Sons and Daughters in Ancestral Property?
The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 confirms that sons and daughters should have equal rights on ancestral property. Therefore, if a man has a son and a daughter, he will equally distribute ancestral property among them. Some additional data are as follows.
- The right to share in an ancestral property comes by birth.
- Coparceners of a property can choose to partition or sell their share.
- While one cannot sell an ancestral property without the permission of the successor, individuals can do so by filing a suit for partition.
- Individuals can send a legal notice for their share of the ancestral property if it is denied to them.
According to a recent decision by the Delhi High Court in 2016, an adult son will not have any legal claim on the parents' self-acquired property. On the other hand, if an ancestral property is partitioned between family members, it will no longer remain ancestral property. In such cases, parents will choose to avoid giving the property to their immediate children. However, such an option will not be possible for ancestral properties.
What Is a Wife’s Right in Her Husband’s Ancestral Property?
The Hindu Law recognises the right of a wife to claim her husband’s ancestral property. According to this law, she can claim it through her husband’s Class-I heir’s capacity after his demise. As long as the child is a minor, the property remains in the wife's name. The process is quite simple in ancestral property, as the heir is legally capable of inheriting it. However, the process becomes difficult in the self-acquired property of the husband.
Who Can Sell an Ancestral Property?
According to Indian laws, the head of an Undivided Hindu Family (HUF) has the authority to manage and control all the assets and properties. One of the part owner’s decisions is not sufficient for selling an ancestral property. As four generations have their claim over the property, consent of each living member is mandatory for selling the property officially. If any one of the property owners denies giving consent, the property will sell.
How to Claim Ancestral Property?
There are multiple ways of claiming ancestral property. If an individual is the sole surviving coparcener of a family, he/she can claim an entire property. There is hardly any paperwork needed, as the ownership comes directly to the living heir by default.
However, if there are multiple heirs, individuals can claim a part or share of the property. A coparcener must file for a partition to claim a part of the share. The process requires them to file a complaint by the plaintiff. Here, they must explain their reasons for demanding a partition. They will have to visit the court and remain present during its hearings.
Hopefully, now you know what ancestral property is. It is what you inherit from your parents, passed across generations. As this article observed, the only living heir makes it easier to claim the ancestral property. However, this process is relatively difficult when more than one living heir claims an ancestral property.