Future Planning
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Intestate Succession For Those Who Die Without A Will

This article outlines the complexities of intestate succession, shedding light on how estates are handled in the absence of a Will.
Intestate Succession For Those Who Die Without A Will
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Summary: This article outlines the complexities of intestate succession, shedding light on how estates are handled in the absence of a Will.

Imagine a situation where a loved one passes away, leaving behind assets but no Will. What happens to their possessions? Who inherits them? These questions are addressed through a legal process known as intestate succession. This process comes into play when an individual dies without a valid will, leaving their estate to be distributed according to specific laws set by the state.

This article outlines the complexities of intestate succession, shedding light on how estates are handled in the absence of a Will.

Meaning of Dying Intestate

Dying intestate refers to a person who has died without a Will in place. This person’s estate is then known as an intestate estate. These intestate estates go through a legal process to determine how a person’s assets and property will be distributed after their death.

In India, complicated intestate succession laws govern the division of a person’s estate when they pass away without leaving a will. Personal laws differ according to an individual’s gender, marital status, community, and religion.

Muslims are governed by Sharia law, Christians and Parsis by the Indian Succession Act of 1925, and Hindus by the Hindu Succession Act of 1956.

In an intestate distribution of assets, the percentage is fixed in advance. For example, Hindu men are entitled to an equal part of the assets with their wife, children, and mother, provided she survives.

Thus, three to four inheritors are usually left behind after a person dies. Additionally, there is no control over specifying the recipients for each portion of the assets.

As illustrated in Manojlal’s case earlier, had he drafted a Will, he could have stipulated that all his assets should go to his wife first. However, in the absence of a Will, his assets were equally distributed among his wife and children, without his wife having any control over the asset distribution. Below is a general outline of common principles related to intestate succession.

Definition of Intestate Succession

Intestate succession occurs when a person dies without a Will, or if the Will is deemed invalid. In these situations, the laws of intestacy govern how the estate of the departed person is divided.

Laws of Intestacy

Each religion has specific laws that dictate how the deceased person’s assets are to be distributed among surviving relatives. These laws generally prioritise close family members.

Priority of Heirs

Personal laws usually prioritise spouses, children, and other close relatives. The order of priority may vary, but spouses and children often have primary claims to the estate.

Spouse’s Share

In the personal laws of most religions, the surviving spouse is entitled to a certain portion of the property. The exact share can depend on whether there are also surviving children, parents, or other relatives.

Children’s Share

If there is no surviving spouse, the estate is often divided among the children. The share each child receives may depend on the religion of the deceased person, number of children and whether they are from the same marriage or different marriages.

Distribution to Other Relatives

In the absence of a surviving spouse or children, the estate may pass on to other relatives, such as parents, siblings, or more distant relatives, depending on the jurisdiction.

Administration of the Estate

In cases of intestate succession, an administrator is typically appointed by the court to manage the distribution of the estate. This person is responsible for ensuring that the assets are distributed according to the applicable laws.

Challenges and Disputes

Disputes can arise among potential heirs, leading to legal challenges. It’s essential to follow the legal procedures outlined in the jurisdiction to resolve any conflicts.

Importance of Creating a Will

To avoid intestate succession and have more control over the distribution of one’s assets, individuals are strongly encouraged to create a valid will. A will allows individuals to specify their wishes and designate Beneficiaries.

Seeking legal advice when dealing with matters of intestacy is recommended to ensure compliance with applicable laws.

Safeguard Your Loved Ones’ Futures

Drafting a Will is vital for financial security. This important act is often postponed due to misconceptions about complexity, cost, or time. Contrary to popular beliefs, it is a crucial step to protect your family’s future and preserve your legacy. With proper legal assistance, creating a Will becomes straightforward and financially prudent. In our life’s journey, we work tirelessly to ensure our family’s well-being. Writing a Will is a responsible act, guaranteeing a seamless transition for your loved ones.

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