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Succession Laws In India For A Hindu Woman

Succession Laws In India For A Hindu Woman

Inheritance laws in India are complex, and the rules differ based on not just your religion, but your gender too.

Team Yellow



min read

July 25, 2023

While society is progressing at its own pace, the law doesn’t always keep up. For a Hindu woman especially, the laws of inheritance are quite different from that of a Hindu man. As a daughter, she may now have equal share in her parents’ property, but as a married Hindu woman who has died intestate (without a Will), the laws are still a bit outdated.

Intestate Succession Order For A Hindu Woman

When a Hindu woman dies intestate, her property goes to her heirs in the following order.

  1. First, to her children, grandchildren (in the case where her children predeceased her), and her husband
  2. Second, to her husband’s heirs
  3. Third, to her mother and father
  4. Fourth, to her father’s heirs
  5. And last, to her mother’s heirs

This means that her in-laws have a right to her property before her own parents, provided the said property was not inherited from her father or mother, in which case it would go to her father’s heirs.

UPDATE: In February 2024, the Karnataka High Court upheld the Hindu Succession Act when it comes to succession laws for married Hindu women. The court clarified that in cases where a Hindu woman dies intestate—that is, without leaving a Will—and has no children, her own assets are to be inherited by her in-laws first.

Read the full article here.

The HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) & Hindu Women

According to the Mitakshara School of Hindu law, women weren't given coparcener status, which means that they could not claim ancestral property (it was given to the male heirs, instead). The only thing they had absolute ownership of was Streedhana ie whatever limited jewellery, or clothing, they received at the time of marriage. In essence, The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 excluded daughters from being able to hold coparcener status, which was highly discriminatory.

Fortunately, the Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005 brought some monumental changes in the history of women's rights to inherit property in India. Under this Act, provisions of section 6 were amended, and women are now entitled to equal coparcenary rights. They can now claim partition and possession of their father’s ancestral and self-acquired property.

The Bottom Line

The Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005 is a great example of the law taking a step forward to correct discriminatory practices, and keep up with the progress society has made when it comes to women’s rights. That said, there is still a long way to go, and change takes time.

It is still common to find cases where, a woman who is separated from her husband, but not legally divorced, has her assets distributed to her estranged husband rather than her parents at the time of her death.

The good news is you don’t need to wait for the law to keep up. A legally valid Will supersedes the Hindu Succession Act and allows you to choose who you’d like to leave your assets to.

Yellow makes it even simpler. You can now create a legally valid Will from the comfort of your home with the Yellow app.


Team Yellow


min read
July 25, 2023


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Intestate Succession


Hindu Succession Act 1956

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