Consider a situation in which you’ve been married young, without adequate education or earning potential, and end up being harassed by your husband and his family.
To make things worse, your parents are not too keen to support you, and the brothers do not want to give you a share of the ancestral property. What will you do?
The financial dependency, be it on the father, brothers or the husband, over the years was the reason for the great misery of women. With the idea of leveling this playing field the Hindu Succession Act 1956 was amended in 2005 to allow the daughters an equal share of ancestral property. Despite this, can your father still deprive you of your share in the property? Find out:
1. If the property is ancestral
According to Hindu law, the property is divided into two types: ancestral and self-acquired property. Ancestral property is defined as one that has been inherited for up to four generations of male lineage and should remain undivided throughout this period. For descendants, be it a daughter or a son, an equal share in fathers property arises from birth. Before 2005, only sons had a legal share in such property. So, according to law, a father cannot Will such property to anyone he wants to, or deprive daughter of her share in it. From birth, a daughter has a share in the ancestral estate.
2. If the property was self-acquired by the father
In the case of self-acquired property, i.e, when a father had bought a house or property with his own money, a daughter is on weaker ground. In this case, the father has the right to gift the property, or Will it to anyone he wants, and a daughter cannot object.
3. When the father dies intestate
When the father dies intestate, that is, without leaving a Will, all legal heirs have the same right in fathers property. Hindu Succession Act categorizes a male’s heirs into four classes, and the inheritable estate goes first to Class I heirs. These include the widow, sons and daughters, among others. Each heir is entitled to a portion of the property, means as a daughter, you are entitled to a share of father’s property.
4. If the daughter is married
Prior to 2005, the Hindu Succession Act considered daughters only as members of Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), not coparceners. After the amendment of 2005, the daughter was recognized as a coparcener, and her marital status has no influence on her right over the father’s property.
5. If the daughter was born or the father died before 2005
It does not matter if a daughter was born before or after September 9, 2005, when the amendment to the Act was changed. Regardless of her date of birth, she has the same rights as a son to the father’s property, be it ancestral or self-acquired. On the other hand, the father must have been alive on September 9, 2005, for the daughter to stake claim over his property. If the father died before 2005, the daughter will have no right over the ancestral property, and self-acquired property will be distributed according to the father’s Will.