Disputes involving immovable property are common. It is said that cases relating to real estate, inheritance, and bequeathing of property form a significant portion of the cases in front of the judiciary. Absence of digital land records makes the sector all the more prone to disputes, ignorance of law being the other.
We at RoofandFloor have always tried to guide and help our readers in matters related to real estate. This post of ours is an endeavour to clear the air on the rights of a legal heir.
Read on to know more.
Who is a legal heir?
To begin with, there is quite a lot of confusion over the term legal heir. An heir is said to be an individual who is appointed by law to succeed to the estate of an ancestor who died without a will. The term legal heir is generally used to connote a person who succeeds in property, which could be either by law or by will.
The deciding factor
It is essential to know who can be considered as a legal heir. The personal laws of different religions hold the key to this answer.
Hindu Succession Act
If a Hindu male has died intestate (without a will), the list of relatives given under class 1 of the Schedule of Hindu Succession Act will decide who the property will go to. The Act also specifies the list of relatives under Class II if none of the relatives as defined in Class I are alive. Similarly, the Act gives a list of relatives who can be considered as legal heirs if the person deceased is a Hindu female.
This also applies to Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs.
Muslim Personal Law
The Sharia law determines the legal heirs of a Muslim individual who dies in India. The law specifies all the conditions under which relatives of the deceased can be considered as legal heirs.
Christian Personal Law
According to Section 32 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 the legal heir of a Christian are husband, wife or the kindred of the deceased.
Parsi Personal Law
Section 54 of the Indian Succession Act specifies the list of legal heirs under Parsi personal law.
Right of a child born in a live-in relationship
According to a recent Supreme Court judgment, the child born out of a live-in relationship also has the right to inheritance as a legal heir.
Rights of legal heirs in relation to a nominee
It is quite often thought that the nominee in various places is the person who inherits the property. However, it is not so.
As per the law, the nominee can hold the property after the death of the individual who nominated him/her. However, this will be only until the laws of the succession establish the legal heirs. It is the heir who is the legal owner of the property and will ultimately own it by the will, or if the death has been intestate, then the laws of succession will hold good.
Other important rights of a legal heir
Right to timely transfer of property
If the nominee or executor of the will is holding the property, the legal heir has all rights to receive information regarding the property and also has rights over the timely transfer of property.
Right to approve remuneration for the executor
The heirs have the rights to demand the accounts for the expenses incurred by the executor in the course of settlement of the property. They also have the right to compensate adequately for the services rendered by the executor.
Remember the legal heir comes into place in case of ancestral property. However, a self-acquired property can be willed to anyone.