How To Claim Your Share In An Ancestral Property
An ancestral property in general terms is a property or a land parcel that belonged to one’s ancestors. However, 27-year-old Ajinkya from Mumbai is doubtful whether he will receive his share of his ancestral property, a farm land that was bought by his grandfather. His father is now planning to sell off the land without his consent. What are his options to reclaim his share?
According to the Hindu law, properties can be classified into two — an ancestral property and a self-acquired property. An ancestral property is, in fact, a self-acquired and undivided property of a person’s grandfather.
MakaaniQ lists the essential facts pertaining to the rights to secure a share in an ancestral property:
What is an ancestral property?
Legally speaking, an ancestral property is the one which is inherited up to four generations of male lineage. The right to a share in an ancestral property accrues by birth itself, unlike other forms of inheritance, where legacy opens upon the death of the owner.
The share of father and son in ancestral property
A father (current owner of the ancestral property) and his son have equal ownership rights over the property. However, the share of each generation (the father and his siblings) is decided first after which the successive generations have to subdivide the portion inherited from their corresponding predecessor.
The share of sons and daughters in ancestral property
The Delhi High Court had ruled in 2016 that an adult son had no legal claim on his parents' self-acquired property. “Where the house is a self-acquired house of the parents, a son, whether married or unmarried, has no legal right to live in that house and he can live in that house only at the mercy of his parents up to the time the parents allow” said the order.
Once an ancestral property is partitioned between the family members, it would cease to be ancestral property. A father has a choice to not will-out his self-acquired property to his son. However, this is not valid in case of ancestral properties.
The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 confers the status of a coparcener on daughter giving equal rights (with the son) on an ancestral property. Only male members of the family were coparceners prior to the amendment which has modified the Section 6 of the original Hindu Succession Act of 1956 that did not mention daughter's right in a coparcenary property.
Some facts about ancestral properties
*The right to a share in an ancestral property comes by birth.
*Coparceners, including daughters can seek a partition and sale of the ancestral home as well secure his or her share.
*Referring to Ajinkya’s question above, properties of the paternal ancestors cannot be sold without the consent of the successors. However, it can be reclaimed by filing a suit for partition in a court.
*Similarly, if your share is denied you can send a legal notice demanding your rights.
*The property is regarded as an ancestral property provided it is not divided by the members of a joint Hindu family.
*Once the inherited property is partitioned, the share received by each coparcener becomes his or her self-acquired property.
*Properties acquired from the maternal side does not qualify to be an ancestral property.
*The head of a Hindu undivided family has the power to manage the family assets under the Hindu law. But when it comes to ownership and rights over an ancestral property, each coparcener is entitled for getting his or her share.