People born in a wealthy family think that they are rich just because their grandfather owns plenty of real estate properties. They are not much aware of the factors that may curtail their rights over such property. The question here arises as to what are the inheritance rights of grandchildren in India?, while they keep searching for answers to ‘how to transfer property from grandfather to grandson?’.
Property disputes in India usually arise among people related to each other by blood, who are part of a common family tree. Irrespective of the generation they belong to and how much affection they enjoy, money always overpowers that love. That is why lawmakers had to specify the inheritance law regarding ancestral property. As per law, can grandson claim rights in grandfather's property? Also, since daughters also have the right to inheritance, can granddaughter claim rights in grandfather's property? Let's have a look at property division under family law after the death of a person.
Before going further, understanding of the term ’inheritance’ is paramount. It includes the rights in money, real estate, assets, etc. which a person receives after the death of another. Legally understanding, one can inherit a property via two pathways, testate and intestate. When the person dying leaves behind a conclusive Will regarding distribution of his/ her property, it is called testamentary succession and the person is said to have died testate. In case of death of the person in the absence of any Will, such a succession is termed intestate. Testamentary succession is always easily acceptable by all the heirs concerned since it depicts the desires of the deceased and there is no scope for challenge unless there are proofs of illegal means incorporated for that Will. With this, answers to who are the legal heirs of ancestral property or self-acquired property as per applicable personal laws are dealt with below in detail.
Consult with a property lawyer in Kolkata for free legal advice.
The answer to ‘Do grandchildren have a right to inheritance?’ lies in the personal laws of the person who dies. As per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, there are no direct inheritance rights of grandchildren in India. In other words, the answer to ‘are grandchildren entitled to inheritance?’ is negative if the father or mother is alive. Unless it is a joint family property whereby grandchildren have coparcenary rights, there is no direct right which he/ she can claim as per partition rules in India.
As per Muslim laws, grand-daughter of first, second or third generation is included among the sharers, while a grandson is among residuaries. It means when the rights of sharers are extinguished for ancestral property or self-acquired property, there come the rights of residuaries. Whereby a Muslim grandchild marries under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, he ceases to be a Muslim as per law and thus, loses the inheritance rights.
In case of Christians, if there is one or more grandchildren in the absence of any child or remote descendant, the property is devolved among the surviving grandchildren in equal shares.
It may also be noted that maternal grandfather property rights among grandchildren follow the same rules.
As per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the class 1 heirs of Hindus include mother, widow, son, daughter, and thereafter the descendants of the predeceased son or daughter, whether it is son’s widow, grandson’s widow, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. In the absence of any such relations, the other specific relations fall under the ambit.
For Muslims, grandchildren entitled to inheritance depends upon their mention in the Will of their grandfather or grandmother. The 12 sharers mentioned as per law are husband, wife, daughter, daughter of a son (or son's son or son's son and so on), father, paternal grandfather, mother, grandmother on the male line, full sister, consanguine sister, uterine sister, and uterine brother. Who becomes residuaries shall depend upon how many sharers or residuaries are left. The grandson’s right in grandfather’s property lacks behind the granddaughter’s as a residuary.
For Christians, the three types of heirs recognized for inheritance of a self-acquired property or otherwise are spouse, linear descendants and kindred. Lineal descendants are children born out of lawful marriage. Kindred relations include other blood relations.
It may be noted that in case of any other religious faiths, where express succession laws are not provided, the Indian Succession Act, 1925 applies.
By now, it is evident that the grandson's right in grandfather’s property is not absolute and not even direct. Thus, Can grandson claim rights in grandfather's property depends upon whether such grandfather wants so? If the answer is yes, such inheritance rights can be included in the Will of the grandfather which shall come in force after the death of grandfather. Another method of inducing grandson’s right in grandfather’s property is through gift which shall come into effect during the lifetime of such grandfather himself. It may be noted that in each case, there has to be confirmation of free will on part of the grandfather.
If you are in Kolkata, a lawyer in Kolkata may help in property disputes.
The daughter's inheritance rights in India were accepted for Hindus through the 2005 amendment of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Hereby, the question arises, does a granddaughter claim rights in grandfather's property just like a grandson? The answer can be yes in case of Hindus as well as according to the Indian Succession Act, 1925. The married granddaughter's rights on grandfather property do not disappear merely through marriage. She is still related by blood and thus, may be a rightful heir if her parents are deceased.
However, the Muslim law allows the daughter or other female lineal descendants to inherit half of what a son gets. The reason being that they are also rightful of their parent’s property and provisions like maintenance and Mahr from the husband also exist.
After considering all facets of Inheritance rights in India inclusive of self-acquired property, ancestral property, Will, inheritance of a self-acquired property, Hindu Succession Act, 1956, joint family property, etc. it is clear that people celebrating their rights in father’s property with the birth of a son is all sham and misunderstanding. For the rights in property are most probably nothing if you are not a direct descendant in case of ancestral property. Also, if it is a self acquired property of grandfather, grandchildren have to win their hearts first in order to have their names included in the Will.
 Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 applies for non-testamentary succession.
 As per the Indian Succession Act, 1925.