The Indian Succession Act, 1925: How Property is Inherited in India

The Indian Succession Act of 1925 is responsible for all inheritance laws. It is used as the primary source for distributing the assets of a deceased person. The Indian Succession Act is as diverse as the people in the country. Diversity is a necessity to ensure that all people, regardless of their religion, get access to their rights. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Indian succession act of 1925. 

What you need to know about the Indian Succession Act, 1925:

Before India was colonised, the succession laws were meted out according to customs and religions. However, the Indian Succession Act 1865 changed that and evolved into what is today known as the Indian Succession Act 1925. It deals with two types of succession:

1. Intestate Succession – A case when a person has passed away without a succession plan or will for his property or when the bequest of property is for illegal, unethical, or immoral activities.  

2. Testamentary Succession – In this case, there is a written will that lays down the details of the asset distribution amongst family members and relatives.

Today the Indian Succession Act has specific laws for various religions in India.

Succession law for Christians in India

The Indian Succession Act 1925 is applicable to all Christians living in India. For intestate succession, sections 31 to 49 are applicable. For testamentary succession, part VI of the act is applicable. These provisions are also applicable to Indian Jews.

Succession law for Parsis in India

The provisions written under sections 50 to 56 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 are applicable for intestate succession. For testamentary succession, part VI is applicable. In case a Parsi person dies after the commencement of the Act, a probate of the will becomes mandatory. This is applicable only if the will is made or the immovable property to be devolved under the will located within the jurisdiction of Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai constituencies.

Succession law for Hindus in India

The laws for intestate succession for Hindus are regulated by the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. The provisions under Chapter III of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, become applicable in this case.

Testamentary succession for Hindus follows the same provisions – Part VI of the Indian Succession Act,1925.

These provisions also extend to Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in India. It is, however, not applicable to legal heirs of Hindu citizens of India who have changed their religion.

Succession law for Muslims in India

The Indian Muslims are not governed by the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. They follow the Muslim Personal Law (Sharī‘ah Law) instead. For intestate succession, the Muslim Personal Law is applicable.

In the case of testamentary succession, only one-third of the property of the deceased can be valid. This happens if the heirs of the deceased person issue no formal consent.

After the death of a Muslim, it is important that the following are taken care of:

  • Expenses for the funeral and the burial of the deceased person.
  • Debts of the deceased must be paid.
  • Expenses incurred due to letters of administration or probate or succession certificate must be cleared.
  • The value or will of the deceased must be determined.
  • The remaining property must be distributed fairly amongst the relatives as per the Sharī‘ah Law.

Moreover, the heirs can be successors only if they are legally recognized as such by the Sharī‘ah Law.

Key pointers regarding testamentary succession in India

Testamentary succession in India comes with stipulations of its own. It is applicable to all religions except for Islam. Here are a few important ones:

  • Only a person who is of sound mind and not a minor can transfer their property rights via a will. This does not exclude women, or persons with disabilities, provided they know the impact and consequences of their wills.
  • A minor’s father can appoint a testamentary guardian or guardians as per Section 60 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
  • Wills made before the marriage of the testator stand revoked.
  • Every testator who is not a mariner, soldier, or airman can execute an unprivileged will be carrying out certain provisions of the Act (Section 63).
The bottom line: Diversity is key even in succession laws

Diversity plays an important role in the provisions of the Indian Succession Act 1925. In a country as diverse as India, you need stipulations that cater to the needs of the people. It is important to have a basic understanding of the various succession laws to protect one’s rights.

Frequently Asked Questions about Succession in India
1. How is property inherited in India?

Property can be inherited in India as per the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. This act has two major components- the intestate and testamentary succession. This act governs the succession of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, and Jain heirs.

2. What is the Indian Succession Act, 1925?

The Indian Succession Act was mandated in 1925. This act governs the succession and inheritance of properties in India. The act consists of multiple provisions that apply to the diverse group of religious bodies in India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are for informational purposes only based on industry reports and related news stories. PropertyPistol does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.


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