- Succession, in a layman’s language means who will succeed to the estate of a person and to what extent, India is a multi-religious, multi-cultural land wherein people’s practices, tradition differ at a great extend with one another.
- In the case of people professing the Christian faith, the Indian Succession Act – 1925, governs succession, sections 31 to 49 are applicable to them.
- It is to be noted that these provisions are also applicable on people belonging to the Jewish Faith and to foreigners living in India.
- Whereas the act and its sections laid down by lawmakers were as early as 1925, we have tried to explain such sections here as easily as possible.
- Where a person dies intestate his property will devolve upon to his successors in different shares depending upon the class of heir
- Explained below are the succession laws of Indian Christians
Rules of Distribution amongst lineal descendants
- Distribution of property amongst the legal heirs takes place after deducting the share of the surviving spouse of the deceased.
- Leaving behind Child or Children
- As per section 37, Where the intestate has left surviving him a child or children, but no more remote lineal descendant through a deceased child, the property shall belong to his surviving child, if there is only one, or shall be equally divided among all his surviving children,
- As per the interpretation of this section it implies that the property of the deceased will be divided amongst all surviving children of the deceased equally.
- Leaving behind Grandchild or Grandchildren –
- As per Section 38, when a person dies intestate leaving behind no child but grandchild or grandchildren, and no descendant through a deceased grandchild, then such property shall dwelve upon equally on all surviving grandchildren.
- Leaving behind descendants not all in same degree of kindred –
- As per Section 40, of the Act, when a deceased has left behind descendants of varying degree of kindred to him, and person through whom such descendants have born is dead then, such share will be divided equally amongst the living descendants of the same degree and such other living lineal descendants of such descendants who predeceased the intestate person.
- Eg. A had three children, John, Mary and Henry; John died, leaving four children, and Mary died, leaving one, and Henry alone survived the father. On the death of A, intestate, one-third is allotted to Henry, one-third to John’s four children, and the remaining third to Mary’s one child.
- A left no child, but left eight grandchildren, and two children of a deceased grandchild. The property is divided into nine parts, one of which is allotted to each grandchild, and the remaining one-ninth is equally divided between the two great-grandchildren.
Distribution where no lineal descendants
We have learnt and understood the subject of succession above in the case a person dies intestate but leaving lineal descendants, now in this part we will understand how succession will take place in case the deceased has not left any descendant
- If the Father of the deceased survives and in absence of any other lineal descendant and after deducting the share of the spouse(if she is living), such share will devolve upon the father of the deceased.
- Father dead, mother, brother, sister and children of deceased siblings living, then –
- As per Section 44, if the intestate’s father is dead and he has left behind mother, brother, sister, and children from deceased brother or sister who died in the life time of the intestate, then such people will receive equal shares amongst each other and children (if more than one) of deceased sister or brother will divide amongst themselves the share their parents would have received if they were alive.
- Father dead, mother and children(s) of deceased siblings living, then –
- As per Section 45, if the intestate’s father as well as brother and sister are dead but the mother is alive and children of such brother and sister are also alive, then in that case the mother and such children will inherit the estate, the children (if more than one) of such brothers and sisters will take a share which their parents would have taken had they been alive.
- Only Mother Surviving, then –
- As per Section 46, if the intestate dies leaving behind none but his mother, his entire share will go to his mother only.
- Left behind neither of the parents and nor any lineal descendant
- As per Section 47, In case the intestate dies leaving no father and nor mother and no lineal descendant but only brothers and sisters and children from deceased brother and sister then such share will be divided amongst the brothers and sisters and also the children of the deceased brothers and sisters, if there are more than one children of the deceased brothers and sisters they will get share which their parents would have taken had they been alive.
- Intestate died leaving neither father & mother, nor any lineal descendant, nor any sibling
- As per Section 48, If the intestate dies leaving behind neither parents nor any lineal descendant then his property shall belong be divided amongst his relatives of nearest degree of kindred to him.
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