Intestate refers to not having made a Will. A person who dies without leaving a Will is called an intestate person and the property which is not bequeated is called intestate property. When a person dies without testamentary document no clear instructions are left behind by a deceased person with respect to the administration of his/her estate. In such cases the inheritance of his/her assets shall follow the rules of succession laws.
Intestate succession results into lack of clarity amongst legal heirs on the rights of inheritance and complexities in claiming the rights to title and benefits over the estate of deceased person. The drawbacks of intestate succession are:
- Uncertainity over who has a right of inheritance and the share of each legal heir in the estate of deceased person
- Hardships in establishing the relationship between legal heirs and deceased person
- Expenses in claiming inheritance
- Disputes amongst legal heirs
- Distribution of property as per the rules of law rather than the wishes of the estate owner.
The succession laws determine who are the legal heirs of the deceased person and their share in his/her estate. The succession laws vary depending on the religion of a deceased person. The succession laws are Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Indian Sucession Act, 1925 and Muslim personal laws.
Hindu Succession Act contains rules regarding the succession to the property of hindu male and female who had died intestate. Indian Succession Act has made provisions regarding the intestate succession to the property of Christians, Parsis and to the property of the person whose marriage is registered under special marriage act. The inheritance of the estate of the muslims shall be as per the provisions made under Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.
The legal heirs may be required to obtain certain documents like ‘legal heir certificate’ and/or ‘letter of administration’ to establish their claim over inheritance.
Intestacy results into entanglement of various issues connected to the inheritance of the estate of the deceased person and hardships to the legal heirs to claim inheritance
|Hindu Succession Act| Indian Succession Act | Muslim Personal Law| Testament|