Do Daughters Have Rights In Father's Or Family Property?

Published on 12 Jan 2020 by Shivi

Disputes over family property have been happening for ages and ancestral property division and inheritance of family property are one of the most common cases courts in India receive under the family laws. When it comes to inheritance rights, the right of men to claim family property has been undisputedly recognised, but when it comes to women’s rights in the family property, the law has not always been on their side. In this guide, we focus on the laws relating to women’s rights in family property and answer whether daughters have rights in father’s property or not.

Inheritance Rights Of Daughters Before 2005

Under the Hindu Succession Act, the inheritance rights of women were equal to none and sons enjoyed complete rights over the property of their fathers. Daughters only had right over the family property only till the time they remained unmarried. After marriage, daughters lost all rights over their fathers’ property or family property. 

Do Daughters Have Rights In Father's Property After 2005?

In 2005, the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act was passed which grants the same rights, duties and liabilities to daughters that were earlier limited to sons. The Act has a retrospective effect, i.e. even daughters born before the 2005 amendment had equal rights and the partition suits filed before the new Act would be covered under the 2005 law.

Under the 2005 Amendment Act, the daughter’s rights in father’s or family property can be understood as follows:

Daughters’ Rights In Ancestral Property

A property becomes ancestral property when is inherited up to four generations of male lineage and remains undivided throughout this period. Under the 2005 Amendment Act, daughters have equal rights as sons in ancestral property and acquire this right by their birth in the family. In case a daughter wishes to claim her share in the ancestral property, a suit for ancestral property division can be filed with the help of a family law lawyer in India.

Daughters’ Rights In Father’s Self-Acquired Property

Self-acquired property of the father is any property which was bought by the father with his own money. In the case of self-acquired property, the father has the right to gift the property or make a Will to give it to anyone he wants, and a daughter will not be able to raise an objection.

ALSO READ: Partition Suit For Family Property Division In India

Daughters’ Rights In Father’s Property When Father Dies Intestate

If the father dies intestate i.e., without a Will, all legal heirs get an equal right to the property. The property is divided among the Class I heirs first and includes the wife, daughters and sons, among others. A daughter has an equal part in the father’s property as the rest of Class I legal heirs. If the daughter is denied her share, a property partition suit can be filed with the help of a family law advocate.

Daughters’ Rights In Father’s Property When Daughter Got Married Before 2005

Under the old law, once the daughter was married, she was no longer considered a member of the family and has no right to claim a share in the family property or father’s property. However, after the 2005 amendment, the daughter is considered a coparcener similar to a son and her marital status does not affect her rights over the family property. 

Daughters’ Rights In Father’s Property When She Was Born Or Father Died Before 2005

If the daughter was born before or after September 9, 2005, she gets equal rights as a son in the father’s property or ancestral property irrespective of her date of birth. 

However, the father must have been alive on September 9, 2005, for the daughter to stake a claim over his property. If the father had died before 2005, a daughter will have no right over the ancestral property, and self-acquired property will be distributed as per the father’s Will.

Family property disputes are complicated, and in a majority of cases, the daughter is denied a share by the rest of the family due to the misconception of the Succession laws. It is advised to consult a good family attorney in India to get all the information and legal support to claim a share in the family property.

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