Inheritance in Absence of A Will under Indian Succession Act
Real Estate  
Helpline Law

An intestate death often causes chaos with family often ending up fighting to get property. The succession act was created to resolve the impending chaos when a person dies intestate. Through this article, the reader can understand what Intestate is, what are the legal provisions for it and what happens in different conditions of an intestate death.


The Indian Succession Act came into operation on 30th September 1925 and it seeks to consolidate all Indian Laws relating to succession. It has no retrospective operation and is applicable to intestate and testamentary succession.
Intestate means when person dies without making a will, which is capable of taking effect. The property devolves upon the wife or husband or upon the relatives of the deceased in the following manner.
1. If A has left no will- He has died intestate in respect of the whole of his property.
2. A has left a will, whereby he has appointed B his executor; but the will contains no other provisions- A has died intestate in respect of the distribution of his property.
3. A has bequeathed his whole property for an illegal purpose - A has died intestate in respect of the distribution of his property.
4. When a will is partially incapable of being operative- A has bequeathed RS 1000 to B and RS 1000 to the eldest son of C, and has made no other bequest; and has died leaving the sum of Rs. 2000.00 and no other property. C died before A without having ever had a son. A has died intestate in respect of the distribution of Rs.1000.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will and You're Single?
If you're single and childless, your parents will receive your entire estate if they are both living. Otherwise it will be divided among your siblings (including half-siblings) and your surviving parent, if one parent has already died. If you have no surviving parents at the time of your death, then your entire estate will be divided among siblings, in equal parts. If there are no surviving parents, siblings, or descendants of siblings (nieces and nephews), then the relatives on your mother's side would inherit one-half of the estate, with the other one-half passing to the relatives on your father's side.
If, on the other hand, you're single and have children, then your entire estate generally will go to your children, in equal shares. If any child has died before you, and that child has any children, then that child's share will go to your grandchildren.


What Happens if You Die Without a Will and You're Married?
Depending on how your assets are owned when you die, your estate will either go entirely to your surviving spouse (if it's community/marital property), or split between your surviving spouse, siblings and parents (if it's your separate property). If you're married and have children with your current spouse, your entire estate will go to your surviving spouse. Otherwise, your surviving spouse will receive up to one-half of the estate, with the remaining portion passing to your surviving children from another spouse or partner.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will and You're in Domestic Partnership?
Special rules apply to domestic partners. Since not all states recognize domestic partnerships, it's important to check the laws of your particular state to learn how property is distributed upon your death. Generally, if you die without a will and are survived by a domestic partner, your domestic partner inherits the same as a surviving spouse, depending on how you owned the property.
How Does Dying Without a Will Affect Unmarried Couples?
Dying without a will can be devastating to unmarried couples who are living together. Because intestacy laws only recognize relatives, unmarried couples don't inherit the property of the other partner when one partner dies without a will. Unless there's a will which clearly states a person's intentions when they die, the decedent's property will be divided among relatives, depending on their relation to the decedent.



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