As per the Hindu law, there are two types of property categories; one is Ancestral property and another is self-acquired property. While ancestral one is defined as the property which should be four generation old i.e. acquired or purchased by the great-grandfather and which then passed undivided to the next three generations up to the present generation of great-grandson or daughter. On the other hand, a self-acquired property is the one which is purchased by an individual from his own resources.
So, any individual born to a family whose forefather’s acquired any property has the right to have a share unlike other forms of inheritance where it can be transferred only after the death of the owner. In order to avoid any discrepancy, know these key facts about the ancestral property:
- Any property inherited up to four generations of male lineage, which means father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather is called ancestral property.
- The important fact is that it should have remained undivided until the fourth generation upwards. Once divided, each and every individual of the family gets their portion and hence it becomes his or her self-acquired property.
- Other form of property inheritance occurs only after the demise of the owner, while in ancestral property any right to a share in such a property starts by birth itself.
- Ancestral property can include self-acquired property as well. However, this aspect is determined based on the facts and circumstances of a case.
- Any property which is divided through a partition deed or family arrangement etc. is not considered an ancestral property. Also, if the property is gifted to an individual or attained through the will are not ancestral properties. Let us say- A property is gifted by a father to his son/ daughter which means he/she simply received it from his/her father, hence it cannot be considered as ancestral property.
- If a property is inherited from a mother, grandmother, uncle, and brother, then it is not an ancestral property.
- The right to ancestral property is determined not as per capita but as per stripes. This means that the share of each generation is first determined and in turn, the successive generations share is sub-divided. Each generation inherits from its precursors.
- A self-acquired property can become ancestral property only if it is thrown into the pool of ancestral properties and enjoyed in common.
- With respect to the property law, a son may be disinherited from the self-acquired property of the father, but he will nevertheless claim similar rights over the Hindu Undivided Family.
- According to the decision given by the Supreme Court of India in 2005, daughters also got a right in the ancestral property. The SC had declared that daughters who were born before the enactment of Hindu Succession Act 1956 are entitled to equal shares as a son in ancestral property.