Instances when a Son may not inherit the property of his Father.
According to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, a son or a daughter has the first right as the Class I heirs over the self-acquired property of his or her father if he dies intestate (without leaving a will).
As a coparcener, an individual also has the legal right to acquire his or her share in an ancestral property.
But in certain situations, as discussed below, a son may not receive his share in his father’s property.
In case of ancestral property
As per Hindu Law, a person automatically acquires the right to his or her share in the ancestral property at the time of their birth.
An ancestral property is the one which is inherited up to four generations of male lineage. A property is regarded ancestral under two conditions – if it is inherited by the father from his father, which is the grandfather after his death; or inherited from the grandfather who partitioned the property during his lifetime.
In case, the father acquired the property from grandfather as a gift, it will not be regarded as an ancestral property.
A son can claim his share in an ancestral property even during the lifetime of his father. In any case, the applicant seeking his share in the property must prove his succession. However, the law does not count a stepson (the son of the other parent with another partner, deceased or otherwise) among the Class I heirs.
The court, in some cases, allows a stepson to inherit the father’s property. For instance, in a case addressed by the Bombay High Court, the applicant was the son of a deceased Hindu woman’s issue with her first husband. The woman acquired the property from her second husband who did not have any legal heir except his wife. The court upheld the stepson’s claim and declared that after the woman’s death, her son – the stepson of the second husband – could claim his succession over the property. This decision was made when the nephews and grand-nephews of deceased second husband claimed title to the property.
In case of self-acquired property
The law says that a son does not have a legal right over the self-acquired property of his parents. However, he can claim his share if he can prove his contribution towards the acquisition of the property.
Also, there is no chance for a son in receiving a share in the self-acquired property if his father has bequeathed his property to someone else, by means of a will, or a gift deed.
He may be allowed to use the property on permission, but his parents are not under any obligation to allow him to live there. Moreover, a grandson does not have rights over the self-acquired property of his grandfather.
If father gifts a property
A property is not considered as an ancestral property if it was gifted by a father to his son.
Therefore, an individual cannot claim his share in a property which was gifted to his father by his grandfather. The property which a son or a daughter receives as a gift from the father becomes their self-acquired property. In such cases, the grandchildren have no legal right in a property their grandfather gifted to his son or daughter which he could have gifted to any other person, too.
Such a property is considered as self-acquired property unless there is a clear expression of intention by the grandfather to make it an ancestral property.