A daughter in law’s legal rights in her in law’s house are (seen as) the same as her husband’s rights? Whatever is his is hers? So any talk of a daughter in law’s rights is creating unnecessary controversy perhaps?
Also, this ensures a woman’s financial status is affected by her marital status. What if she does not have a husband (does not marry, is in an in-living relationship, divorced, widowed or separated)?
But now that we are beginning to talk about equal rights for married daughters, then how is it wrong to talk about a daughter in law’s legal rights too? (Remember unless they are earning and self reliant, their financial security depends on these rights.)
If there is no Will, then who inherits a Hindu woman’s property?
All married women should read this post. They should be aware that they have no legal right on anything that belongs to their mothers in law.
Generally the in laws’ give jewelry to a bride (stree dhan). Some during god bharai, some with baraat, and then some more during the mooh dikhai.
Often most of this jewelry is taken back when the bride reaches her in law’s place, she is only allowed one odd piece which was bought with the amount that was given by her parents (pre-negotiated). This is done to showoff to the society. Sometimes the entire joint family’s jewelry is given to the bride and after the wedding it is all taken back.
In many families where there are more than one sons, whatever is given for mooh dikhai (a ceremony where the bride is introduced to her husband’s relatives and neighbors etc ) is taken back, it stays with the mother in law. And this same jewelry is given to every new daughter in law who joins the family (and then taken back).
According to this post (in Hindi) whatever the daughter in law is given as gifts (stree dhan), even if it is in safe keeping of the mother in law, legally belongs to the daughter in law. If the mother in law dies without leaving a will, the daughter in law has a legal right on it, not the son.
Please note that only a rare bride would have proof for the gifts (streedhan) received during these customs.
While now one talks about equal property rights for daughters, there is no talk about the daughters in law being given a share.
I feel, Daughters in laws are also daughters, just like Sons in laws are also sons – I wonder if either needs rights in their in laws’ property?
Brothers sometimes take offense when sisters are given their share because they feel their share was spent on their weddings (dowry and expenses), and they also receive when they get married (dowry and gifts). And brothers feuding over inherited property are very common.
So how does one end this bias?
Either one has no expenses on weddings, no accepting or giving. Or else the give and take should be legally, clearly defined.
Or all expenses should be shared by both ladke wale and ladki wale.
If parents were forced to give equal rights in inheritance to daughters, dowry would pinch more and might encourage them to let their daughters become self-reliant and perhaps even choose their own life partners. Dowry does not empower a daughter, while inheritance can.
When a woman dies her husband and children have equal rights on her property.
If the sons are married, their wives (the daughters in law) have no rights; all the rights are the sons.
But even if a daughter is married then she is still entitled; if she is dead, then her children have a right to the grand mother’s property. (This is often seen as wrong because we believe after all, the daughter has a husband and whatever is his or his parents’ is hers!)
The mothers in law can control this by making a will. What the last generation did does not matter.
Making a will is always a good idea but,
1. What about the daughter in law’s own inheritance? (from her parents)
Would it not be simpler if every child, male or female, married, unmarried, divorced, or widowed, inherited equally?
One of the reasons for not wanting a girl child in Haryana is that the brother who does not have male children loses his share of the agricultural property to brothers/cousins who have male children. If daughters have equal rights, they would be free to sell, farm, or hire someone to work for them, just like many sons who live in cities do.
The excuse that the daughters have to get married and relocate that is why they can’t be given a share , doesn’t make sense, since sons don’t lose their inheritance rights if they move to big cities/abroad. (Does this bias benefit women in live in relationships?)
(Not sure about the exact legalities here, please correct me if I am wrong. Accurate information, preferably with links, is welcome.)
2. And if everybody were allowed to keep and use their ‘gifts’ as they felt appropriate, instead of handing them back (for safe keeping ) to the one who gave the gift, there would be lesser chances of their gifts being recycled.) Maybe it should be made a crime to take back the gifts given to a bride?
3. I also feel the Will makes the daughter in law depend on the will maker’s considerations.
A son in law faces no such conditions, where does his financial security come from? Would it be better if the daughters in law’s financial security came from the same source? Basically from self-reliance and from inheritance from their own parents. What do you think?