Gender and Land Rights Database


Inheritance legal mechanisms

- Under Muslim law, the wife inherits a fixed share of one-eighth of the deceased husband’s estate if he leaves children, whereas the husband receives one fourth of his deceased wife’s property. If he does not leave any children, then the wife inherits a quarter of the husband’s estate. A daughter, who is an only child, inherits half the estate of her late father or mother. If there is more than one daughter and no son, then the daughters jointly inherit two-thirds of the estate. However, if there is a son or sons, then the daughter’s or each of the daughters share will be equal to half of the son’s or half of each of the son’s share. In all cases, men inherit more than the women do (18).

- According to Hindu Personal Laws, not all daughters of a man are equally eligible to inherit. Unmarried daughters and married daughters with sons can inherit. Married daughters beyond child-bearing age and widows without sons cannot inherit (4).

The Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937

- A widow, or all widows in a polygamous marriage, inherits the same share as a son (18).

The Christians Succession Act, 1925

- Provides equal inheritance between sons and daughters (18).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography