Every law of Succession defines the rules of distribution of property in case a person dies without making a Will. The property of an intestate devolves upon the wife or Husband or upon those who are of the kindred of the deceased. The rules for Succession among the Christians have been codified under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
The Indian Succession Act, 1925 recognizes three types of heirs for Christians: –
- Spouse; 2. Lineal Descendants; 3. Kindred
“Lineal Descendant” means, “a Descendant born out of a lawful marriage”. An illegitimate child is not a child within the meaning of the act. Therefore, such a child has no share in the property of the parents.
The term “Kindred” means, relations by blood through a lawful marriage. Therefore, relations by illegitimate birth are not recognized as Kindred under the Act. Kindred does not include relation by affinity such as mother-in-law or stepmother or stepfather. Thus, a stepfather or a step mother has no legal right of Succession to the property of his or her step children. The position is the same in the case of a father-in-law as well.
Where an intestate has left a widow and if he has left lineal descendants, i.e., Children and Children’s Children, 1/3rd of his property shall belong to the widow, and the remaining two third shall go to the lineal descendants. If the intestate has no lineal descendants, but has left persons who are of kindred to him, half of his property shall belong to the widow and the other half shall go to those who are of kindred to him.
Where an intestate has left a widow and has left no lineal descendants and none who are kindred to him, the whole of his property shall belong to his widow.
Where an intestate has left no widow or has left no lineal descendants and if the intestate’s father is living, he shall succeed to his property. If the intestate’s father is demised, the intestate’s mother and brothers and sisters shall succeed to his property.