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Lawfully yours: By Retd Justice K Chandru

Your legal questions answered by Justice K Chandru, former Judge of the Madras High Court. Do you have a question? Email us at

Lawfully yours: By Retd Justice K Chandru

All intestate non-willed properties will go as per line of succession

Q: My elder sister was married to a widower in her late fifties and breathed her last recently without leaving any issue. She had inherited some wealth from her father, including some immovable properties. To whom will it go now? Also, she had some shares registered in her name by her husband. Will it go back to him or as a sibling, do I have any right over them? Ragavi Mohan, Parandur

A: Under the Hindu Succession Act, if the deceased had not left any will, the persons who can succeed to her estate are firstly her children and then only her husband and so on and so forth. Being her younger sister you will come as second-line successor. Only if in the first line no one is surviving can you succeed to her properties. All intestate (non-willed) properties will go as per line of succession. Intestate refers to dying without a legal will. When a person dies intestate, deciding how their assets will be distributed becomes the responsibility of a state probate court. While the husband is a class-1 heir in this case, her younger sisters are in class-2. Their turn will come only if no class-1 heir is available.

Question of employer giving compensation does not arise

Q: My mother was among the frontline workers during the COVID period, serving at a private hospital as a nurse. She contracted the virus at that time and since then has had health issues till her death six months ago. The hospital where she worked last is rejecting all claims of compensation and saying since she was a contract staff and her death has nothing to do with her service there, the management could not give her any compensation. We two girls are still studying and would like to know if there is any way to make the hospital see the reason. Divya, Karapakkam

A: If the death was not due to any occupational disease or due to any accident arising or in the course of an employment the question of employer giving compensation will not arise. You may get the assured insurance amount if she is covered by any group insurance by the employer. Otherwise, you will have to be satisfied with getting Provident Fund and Gratuity alone. Even for that, the hospital must have a minimum staff of 10 persons.

Justice K Chandru
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