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    HaqSe: What Are Women’s Inheritance Rights ? Expert Weighs In

    Wondering if you have any rights to inherit your father or husband’s property under India’s inheritance laws? We connected with a legal expert recently during our new series HaqSe, where we try to untangle all the rights and laws for women in Indi...
    Updated at - 2023-03-10,08:00 IST
    inheritance laws rights women india

    Understanding inheritance rights for women in India is a bit tricky since multiple factors determine it – religion, marital status, father's will, and the number of siblings, to name a few. To simplify it all for you, we connected with Aditi Joshi, Head of Legal Affairs at Yellow, India's most comprehensive digital will and estate planning solution.

    During our conversation, Joshi shared what rights women have under inheritance laws in India, how they can claim them, and what factors can affect their succession.

    Do Women In India Have Inheritance Rights?

    There are different ways women of the family get their share in inheritance in India. Our legal expert simplified, “There are two ways property is passed on to the heirs after one's demise. One is according to the late person's will and the other one is the personal laws of the religion the family follows. For instance, an individual can name any person in their will to inherit their assets after their demise. On the other hand, when it comes to inheritance if a male member passes away, women do get a share of the property and this can be relationship specific. For example, the wife and mother get 25 percent each, daughters get 25 percent each."

    Claiming The Share Of Late Father’s Property

    fathers property inheritance

    Further, during our chat, we spoke about cases in India where the daughter was stated as the sole inheritor of the late father’s property. The expert shared that such cases usually lead to disputes in the family and the final decision is held by the court. She said, “If it's written in the will that she is getting a share, she is entitled to it. If there is a dispute, for example, the siblings challenge the will which is why the daughter is getting all the assets then the matter can go to the court and the court then decides if the will is a genuine one or forged. If the court shares that the will is valid, the daughter gets her share.”

    She said, “Sometimes what happens is that the daughter of the family is given cash or property at the time of her marriage. Following this, she is asked to sign an agreement or unofficially state that she will no longer ask for a share in the family’s assets.” Our legal expert shared that this is called a legal arrangement. She added, “At the end of the day if the daughter thinks that she is doing good and has enough and wants to give her share to her sibling willingly, then she can. However, no one can force her to do so.”

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    Women’s Inheritance Rights After Inter-Religious Marriage 

    inheritance laws

    Does a woman’s inheritance rights change if she has an inter-religious marriage? Our expert said, “In case of inter-religious marriages, there are two ways under the law that this can happen – if the marriage takes place under the special marriage act and the religion remains the same or if you undergo conversion after marriage. If you aren't converting and you got married under the special marriage act, you have the right to inherit but in case you convert then depending on your religion, your and your child's rights will be affected.”

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    “So every religion has laws when it comes to inheritance and most of them are age-old, haven’t got an update through the years which is why disparity continues to exist when it comes to inheritance by the women of the family in some cases,” she added.

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