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Since ancient times, the spouse and children have always enjoyed inheritance rights to family property. In India, the spouse or the sons inherit the property of the deceased. Laws are continuously being updated and one change brought about in the past few years is that daughter are now eligible to inherit parental property. In most cases, this issue is well taken care of except when tyhe famiy descends upon marital conflict or separation.

A common question when a person is filing divorce is – will my child have the rights over his or her parent’s property even if that parent has since remarried and had more children. Or, if that parent has not been in active contact with the children, will they still have a right over his or her property. As per the Hindu Succession Act, the children of divorced parents fall in the class 1 of the schedule, which means they are immediate heirs to their parents’ property, if any. However, and quite naturally, the full blood is preferred over half-blood in most inheritance cases.

Two important categories of property that are out in the battlefield are: self-acquired properties and ancestral properties, as defined in the Hindu Succession Act, 1955 and Indian Succession Act. Any property that has been acquired by a parent during their lifetime is categorized as self-acquired doesn’t necessarily allow children to demand inheritance rights if they have been willed-out. On the other hand, ancestral property, since it is also inherited by the parents themselves, allows the children to act as coparceners in their own right.

A few things to be considered when filing application about property inheritance are:

  • 1. Children have right over parents’ property unless the parents have willed them out.

  • 2. Children of divorced parents can demand inheritance rights upon their grandparents’ property unless willed out. In other words, it is testamentary succession that is binding upon all in the end, according to section 30 of the Hindu Succession Act.

  • 3. The Muslims are governed by Muslim Law of Inheritance; Christians and others are governed by the Indian Succession Act.

A child may be disqualified to inherit parental property if s/he murdered his/her parent, s/he is not qualified to inherit the murdered parent’s property; converts and their descendants are not eligible to inherit the parents’ property either.

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