Can a widow make will with regard to ancestral property

We have a one dwelling house which is ancestral property. My father (Hindu) expired on 2013. My mother(Hindu) is handling the same presently. She wants to make will. She has 4 sons(married-2 , 1 unmarred, 1 adoption given)& 1 daughter married. whether she has rights to make will ? is it valid? she wishes to give higher share to one son. is it possible?

Answers (1)

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Under the Hindu law, there are two types of properties: ancestral property and self-acquired property. An ancestral or coparcenary property is one which you inherit from your forefathers, up to four generations. Prior to the 2005 amendment in the Hindu Succession Act, only male members of the family were coparceners but later daughters, too, were entitled to get a share. The right to a share in such a property accrues by birth itself, unlike other forms of inheritance, where legacy opens upon the death of the owner.
On the contrary, a self-acquired property is any property which is bought by an individual from his own resources or any property he acquired as a part of the division of any ancestral/coparcenary property. This also includes the property obtained through a legal heir or by any testamentary document such as Will or a gift deed.
Can you sell your ancestral property?
The Hindu law states that if you are the head of a Hindu undivided family, you have the powers to manage the family assets under the law. However, this does not give you the absolute, independent and individual ownership of the property because each coparcener has a share, right, title and interest in the property.
But, under some rare circumstances, such as during the time of family distress (legal necessity), or for the sake and the benefit of the family or to carry out some religious work, the common property can be disposed of.
Can you sell your ancestral property as a coparcener?
A coparcener can sell his interest in an ancestral property but he would need his share in the ancestral property. He may file a suit for partition. If a buyer has bought the part of coparcener’s share in the property, he cannot compel him to file the suit. In normal circumstances, the head of the family decides when to dispose of the share to all the coparceners.
The legal remedy
If you have been denied a share in your ancestral property, you can send a legal notice to the erring party. You can also file a suit for partition in the civil court, claiming your share. To ensure that the properties are not sold when the matter is sub-judice, you may seek injunction from the court in the same suit. In case, the property has been sold without your consent, add the buyer as the party in the suit and claim your share in the property.

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