What are the property rights of widows?

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What are the property rights of widows?

property rights of widows

Do widows have property rights over their husband’s property? What if they decide to remarry? These are a few questions when it comes to matters of property ownership. Let’s try to find the answers.

What does the law say on property rights of widows?

A previous law forbade windows, who decide to remarry from inheriting their deceased husband’s property.

According to the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856: “All rights and interests which a widow may have on the property of her husband are ceased after her remarriage, and the next heirs of her late husband or other person entitled to the estate on her death, shell there upon succeed to the same. ”

However, this law was repealed. Under the terms of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956, widows who decide to marry again have property rights of their deceased husband.

Widows have the property rights

Lately, the Bombay High Court (HC) ruled that a widow who was to marry again did not have to give up her property rights to the possession of her deceased husband. This became apparent when a man (brother of the deceased) relied on section 2 of the Widow Remarriage Act 1856 (cited above) and claimed that his sister-in-law, who had re-married, should not be permitted to inherit her former Husband’s property. The HC, however, decided that she was still grouped under the class I heir of her deceased husband and should inherit.

The husband’s kin become under class-II heirs.

Other class-I heirs include: son, daughter, mother, son of a predeceased son, daughter of the predeceased son, widow of the predeceased son, son of a predeceased daughter, daughter of the predeceased daughter, son of the predeceased son of the predeceased son, daughter of the predeceased son of a predeceased son, widow of the predeceased son of a predeceased son.


  • Adopted children (sons or daughters) are also heirs.
  • Kids who are born out of void or voidable marriages are deemed to be legitimate according to section 16 and are entitled to succession.
  • If there is more than one widow, they equally share a portion of their deceased husband’s property.
  • A widowed mother also gets her share along with other heirs according to Section 14. This was confirmed in the Jayalakshmi versus Ganesh Iyer case. Also, if she is divorced or remarried, she has the right to inherit from her son. Here, the word mother also includes an adoptive mother. Furthermore, if there is an adoptive mother, the natural mother has no right to succeed to the property of the intestate. A mother also has the right to inherit the property of her illegitimate son according to Section 3(I)(J).

Exceptions in property rights of widows

Though, the Hindu Succession Act also mentions that certain widows cannot succeed or inherit.

“Certain widows who marry again cannot inherit as widows. Any heir who is linked to an intestate as the widow of a pre-deceased son or the widow of a brother, has no property rights to the estate of the intestate as such widow, if on the day the succession initiates, she has re-married. ”


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