Do Grandchildren Have a Right to Their Grandfather’s Property?

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Do grandchildren have a right to grandfather’s property? Thinking of leaving your property behind for your grandchildren? Here’s what you should know.

A grandchild’s right to his or her grandfather’s property depends on the nature of the property the grandfather has – whether it is self-acquired property or ancestral property.

Ancestral property

Property inherited by a Hindu from his father, grandfather or grandfather’s father, is ancestral property. Any property that passes undivided down four generations of male lineage is called ancestral property. The grandson’s right to a share in this property accrues by birth itself. This is different from other kinds of inheritance, where inheritance opens only on the death of the owner.

Ancestral property rights are determined on the basis of per stirpes and not per capita. Therefore, first each generation’s share is determined and then successive generations sub-divide what has been inherited by their respective predecessors. In an ancestral property, grandsons have equal share on the same.

According to a Supreme Court ruling, a daughter can only claim ancestral property if her father died after the amendment of the Hindu law. The apex court said that a daughter’s right to ancestral property does not arise if the father died before this amendment, which came into force in 2005.

Self-acquired property
Indian law concerning Hindus is very clear that self acquired intestate (no will made) property only of the deceased male/female Hindu is inherited by his/her sons and daughters in equal proportion along with the surviving spouse. The grandsons or granddaughters have no right to inherit or claim any share in the property of the grandfather or grandmother if their own father or mother are alive. The grandchild does not have a birthright on the self-acquired property of the grandparent. The grandparents can transfer the property to whoever they wish in a will.

We asked our legal expert Shiv Kumar to shed more light on this and here is what he had to say: Whether grandchildren have a right to their grandfather’s property depends upon whether such property is joint family property or the self-acquired property of the grandfather. If the property is joint family property (HUF property) the grandchildren would also be entitled to a share depending upon the number of members or coparceners of such joint family. However, in the case of self-acquired property of grandfather, no such right vests in any person much less grandchildren to inherit the grandfather’s property. The grandfather would have absolute rights to dispose of his property in any manner of his choice, including by Will.

(The above guideline is based on the Hindu Succession Act. There may be some differences in some states and/or different religions. This guide does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for a lawyer. You may send us a mail with a question to ask our legal expert Shiv Kumar here.)

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