International Inheritance Laws

The inhabitants of India can create a will once they reach the age of 21. Testators do not need to hire an attorney to make a will in India. They can buy a “Do it yourself” will, however they are often found invalid by courts due to them lacking information or they cause legal battles over inheritance. The “do it yourself” wills often lack signatures from witnesses which cause the courts to invalidate the will. They also cause legal battles due to the testator not using a person’s full name when leaving them a gift in the will. This causes legal battles because the testator may know many people with the same name, so they would all sue to get the inheritance. This website provides a list of probate lawyers in India: http://www.hg.org/law-firms/probate/india.html

India has many different intestacy laws. The main one, which affects the most people in India is “The Hindu Succession act of 1956” which applies to:

“any person, who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms or developments including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj;

(b)               to any person who is Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion; and

(c)               to any other person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion unless it is proved that any such person would not have been governed by the Hindu Law or by any custom or usage as part of that law in respect of any of the matters dealt with herein if this Act had not been passed.”

 

Distribution of the estate depends on a person’s class and their gender.

The general rule of succession for males is:

(a)       firstly, upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class I of the Schedule;

(b)       secondly, if there is no heir of class I, then upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class II of the Schedule;

(c)       thirdly, if there is no heir of any of two classes, then upon the agnates of the deceased; and

(d)       lastly , if there is no agnate, then upon the cognates of the deceased. “

 

The order of succession for males is:

“Among the heirs specified in the Schedule, those in class I shall take simultaneously and to the exclusion of all other heirs; those in the first entry in class II shall be preferred to those in the second entry; those in the second entry shall be preferred to those in the third entry; and so on in succession.”

 

 

The distribution of the estate for males based on their class is:

 

 

 

       

10.    Distribution of property among heirs in class I of the Schedule

The property of an intestate shall be divided among the heirs in class  I of the Schedule in accordance with the following rules :

Rule 1-The intestate’s widow, or if there are more widows than one, all the widows   together, shall take one share.

Rule 2- The surviving sons and daughters and the mother of the intestate shall each  take one share.

Rule 3- The heirs in the branch of each pre-deceased son or each pre-deceased  daughter of the insteatate shall take between them one share.

Rule 4- The distribution of the share referred to in Rule 3-

(i)        among the heirs in the branch of pre-deceased son shall be so made that his widow (or widow together) and the surviving sons and daughters get equal portions; and the branch of his predeceased sons gets the same portion;

(ii)       among the heirs in the branch of the pre-deceased daughter shall be so made that the surviving sons and daughters get equal portions.

 

11.       Distribution of property among heirs in class II of the Schedule

The property of an intestate shall be divided between the heirs specified in any one entry in class II of the Schedule so that they share equally.”

 

 

The general rules of succession for females is:

 

“(1)       The property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the rules set out in section 16:

(a)       firstly, upon the sons and daughters (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) and the husband;

(b)       secondly, upon the heirs of the husband;

(c)       thirdly, upon the mother and father;

(d)       fourthly, upon the heirs of the father; and

(e)       lastly, upon the heirs of the mother.

(2)      Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1)-

(a)       any property inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) not upon the other heirs referred to in sub-section (1) in the order specified therein, but upon the heirs of the father; and

(b)       any property inherited by a female Hindu from her husband or from her father-in-law shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) not upon the other heirs referred to in sub-section (1) in the order specified therein, but upon the heirs of the husband.”

 

 

The order of succession and distribution of an estate for a female is:

 

“The order of succession among the heirs referred to in section 15 shall be, and the distribution of the intestate’s property among those heirs shall take place, according to the following rules, namely:-

Rule 1- Among the heirs specified in sub-section (1) of section 15, those in one entry shall be preferred to those in any succeeding entry and those including in the same entry shall take simultaneously.

Rule 2- If any son or daughter of the intestate had pre-deceased the intestate leaving his or her own children alive at the time of the intestate’s death, the children of such son or daughter shall take between them the share which such son or daughter would have taken if living at the intestate’s death.

Rule 3- The devolution of the property of the intestate on the heirs referred to in clauses (b), (d) and (e) of sub-section (1) and in sub section (2) of section 15 shall be in the same order and according to the same rules as would have applied if the property had been the father’s or the mother’s or the husband’s as the case may be, and such person had died intestate in respect thereof immediately after the intestate’s death.”

 

 

The Schedule, which denotes class differences is as follows:

 

“                CLASS I

 

Son; daughter; widow; mother; son of a pre-deceased son; daughter of a pre-deceased son; son of a pre-deceased daughter; daughter of a pre-deceased daughter; widow of a pre-deceased son; son of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son, daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son; widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son.

 

CLASS II

I.         Father

II         (1) Son’s daughter’s son, (2) son’s daughter’s daughter,(3)  brother, (4) sister.

III        (1) Daughter’s son’s son (2) daughter’s son’s daughter, (3) daughter’s daughter’s son (4) daughter’s daughter’s daughter.

IV.       (1) Brother’s son (2) sister’s son, (3) brother’s daughter, (4) sister’s daughter.

V.        Father’s father; father’s mother.

VI.       Father’s widow; brother’s widow.

VII.     Father’s brother; fathers’ sister.

VIII.    Mother’s father; mother’s mother.

IX.      Mother’s brother, mother’s sister.  “

 

These laws differ greatly from the intestacy laws of New York. For Example, in New York, we do not descriminate by gender or by class.  The intestacy laws in New York are based on how people are related, different generations in a family, etc. In India, the intestacy laws are based on religion and class.

 

Sources:

http://punjabrevenue.nic.in/hsuccact(1).htm

 

http://voices.yahoo.com/guidelines-making-legally-valid-will-india-728149.html

 

http://www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in/prodCollections.asp?pid=1&id=6&lk=dp6

Hindu is the most popular religion in India and part of the beliefs of Hinduism is that you are reincarnated as something else when you die. This is a shrine made of ivory and sandal wood that represents the Hindu god Lord Vishnu in their ten incarnations. It looks really beautiful, especially for something that old, it must have belonged to a wealthy family because it appears to have been taken care of and looks almost new. Since ivory was not as scarce back then, I dont believe it would have contributed to it being expensive, it seems the amount of detail in the carvings is what would make it seem expensive for the time period.

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