Division of dead Hindu male's assets sans will

When a Hindu male dies intestate (that is, without a will) his assets will get divided among his legal heirs according to the rules of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Under the Act, class-I legal heirs have the first right on the assets such as property, money held in bank accounts, fixed deposits, mutual fund and shares, gold etc.Read on to find out who are classified as class-1 legal heirs of a Hindu male and how the assets will get divided among them after his death as per the Hindu Succession Act. Who is a class-1 legal heir of a Hindu male?As per the Act, Bijal Ajinkya, Partner, Khaitan & Co says, the following will be considered as class-I legal heirs:1. Spouse;2. Daughter;3. Son;4. Mother;5. Son of a pre-deceased son;6. Daughter of a pre-deceased son;7. Son of a pre-deceased daughter;8. Daughter of a pre-deceased daughter;9. Widow of a pre-deceased son;10. Son of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son;11. Daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son; and12. Widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son.13. Son of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-deceased daughter; 14. Daughter of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-deceased daughter ;15. Daughter of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased daughter; 16. Daughter of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-deceased son.Division of assetsNot all class-I legal heirs have equal rights on the assets of a Hindu male who has died intestate. Ajinkya, says, "Among the class-I legal heirs, not all of them have equal right on the assets of the Hindu male who has died intestate. The assets will be first divided equally among the widow, mother, son and daughter.The father of aHindu male is not the class -I legal heir, therefore, he will have no rights over the assets if the class-I heirs are present."Also read: Father is not the immediate legal heir of Hindu MaleWhat if the son passed away before his father (i.e., the deceased Hindu male) and is survived by a spouse, a son and a daughter; how will the division take place in such a scenario?Nidhi Arora, Director, PDS Legal says, "Here, only the pre-deceased son's share of the assets of the Hindu male will be equally divided between his children (i.e., son and daughter) and the widow of the pre-deceased son."What if the Hindu male had a daughter who passed away before him, will the assets get divided in a similar fashion?Arora says, "The share of the pre-deceased daughter in the assets of the Hindu male will be equally divided between her children (i.e., sons and daughters). The husband of the pre-deceased daughter will not get any part from the share." She adds that the rightful claim of the children of the pre-deceased son and/or daughter and widow of the pre-deceased son will be restricted to the actual right of the pre-deceased son and/or daughter. Ajinkya says, "The share of the great grandson and/or great grand-daughter and/or grand-daughter-in-law (in case she is a widow) will be restricted to the share of the deceased grand-son whose father is also deceased." 77354002What if there are no class-I heirs?Ajinkya says, "In the event, there are no class-I legal heirs, then the assets will get divided among the class-II legal heirs. Examples of class-II heirs are father, son's daughter's son, son's daughter's daughter and so on. It must be noted that with the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act in 2005, daughters have been brought at par with sons and hence inherit equally. Consequently, heirs of a predeceased daughter have also been specifically brought in as class-I heirs. However, the lawmakers have not made a corresponding amendment to the Class II Heirs, which still includes heirs of a predeceased daughter. The Law Commission had in the year 2008, in order to avoid disputes, recommended to the government to make the corresponding amendments and remove the heirs from being listed as Class II, in case they have been listed as Class I. However, the amendment is still to see the light of the day."If there are no class-I and class-II legal heirs, then the property will be divided first among the agnates and if there are no agnates, then among the cognates. Agnate is a relative whose connection is traceable exclusively through males. On the other hand, cognate is a relative whose connection is traceable not wholly through males. A cousin from the father's side is an example of an agnate, and a cousin from the mother's side is an example of a cognate.What if there is no heir?Ajinkya says, "In the event there are no heirs qualified to succeed to the property of an intestate, the property devolves upon the government. Also,it is important to note that a murderer of a person is disentitled to inherit property of the person so murdered."