Property inheritance laws hold significant importance, yet they are not deeply understood or implemented in society. Individuals, especially women, face immense discrimination in property inheritance-related matters. Lack of knowledge or funds makes it difficult for them to get their fair share. Hence, it is important to understand the essence of property inheritance laws in Pakistan and how they regulate properties and safeguard the rights of individuals.
What is the Inheritance of Property in Pakistan?
Inheritance is the right of an heir to succeed to property on the death of an ancestor or legally transmitted to the heir. Inheritance in Islam, as per Shariah, is that legal heirs are blood relations with the right to inherit property from the ancestor or a relative after their death. Islamic law does not recognize the concept of intestacy. Surah An-Nisa proposes the proper method must be followed to determine share in inheritance.
What are Property Inheritance Laws in Pakistan?
Property inheritance law, according to Article 23 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, grants all citizens equal rights to property. Pakistan follows the Islamic Inheritance Jurisprudence. Two laws govern property inheritance in Pakistan:
- Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961
- The West Pakistan Muslim Personal Law, 1962
Types of Properties for Inheritance in Pakistan
These are the types of properties eligible for property inheritance laws in Pakistan:
Moveable assets include stocks, cash, gold, bonds, shares, insurance money, and account holdings.
Immovable assets include those that cannot move from one place to another. For instance, real estate land and buildings.
What are the Required Documents for Property Inheritance Laws in Pakistan?
Legal heirs require an inheritance certificate to receive their inheritance after the demise of the owner of the property. The court issues a document that is locally known as wirasatnama. Here is the list of some important documents required:
- National identity card of the deceased
- Statement of heirs
- National identity cards of the heirs
- Receipt issued by the local graveyard
- Death certificate issued by the municipality
- Public advertisement and issued legal notices
- An independent witness
- Mutation or registry of immovable property
Purpose of Legal Heir Certificate
Once the deceased’s death certificate has been obtained, the successors can apply for a legal heir certificate. The legal heir certificate is a document required for recognising the legal heirs of a deceased person. It can be used for the following purposes:
- For claiming insurance
- For processing the family pension of the deceased employee
- To receive dues such as provident fund, gratuity, etc. from the government
- To receive the salary arrears of the deceased
Purpose of Property Succession Certificate
A succession certificate is issued to transfer the deceased’s movable and immovable properties to his/her legal heirs. Any one of the legal heirs can apply for a succession certificate. The Succession Act of 1925 governs all the procedures related to succession certificates in Pakistan. In case of multiple legal heirs, each party can apply for the succession certificate individually, and the court can issue it to them according to their share in the property.
How to Obtain a Property Succession Certificate?
To obtain a property succession certificate, you need to follow the steps below:
- The successor has to provide his/her national identity number and the deceased’s death certificate.
- The applicant has to give relevant details of the legal heir(s) along with information related to the deceased’s moveable and immovable properties.
- All the legal heirs mentioned in the application must visit NADRA’s registration centre for biometric verification.
- NADRA will publish a newspaper notice to ensure no one has any objections against that particular application.
- If no opposition comes forward within 14 days of publication, the letter of administration/succession certificate will be issued to the applicant.
- However, it is important to note that each province has its own conditions for which documents are necessary for initiating the succession certificate procedure.
Importance of the Domicile of the Deceased
The deceased’s domicile plays an important part in the division of inherited property. The property inheritance laws in Pakistan dictate that the judiciary handling inheritance issues must depend on the deceased’s last domicile.
The judiciary depends on the property’s location if the heirs contest the domicile or are unavailable. Civil District Court or High Court generally handles such succession issues if the assets are in Pakistan.
It is also important to mention that regardless of their domicile or nationality, Muslims domiciled in or outside the country are obliged to follow Muslim inheritance laws regarding property distribution in Pakistan. That means while respective national laws may apply to the estate of non-Muslims domiciled outside of Pakistan, Islamic property inheritance laws will be applied to the estate of Muslim citizens even if they were domiciled in a foreign country.
What is the Fee for Property Inheritance in Pakistan?
The Court charges a 7% fee for the whole property transfer case or an amount of Rs. 25,000, but not more than this for property inheritance in Pakistan. Also, there is no concept of inheritance tax in Pakistan.
Rights of Women Under Property Inheritance Laws in Pakistan
While Pakistan has specific laws for the inheritance of properties under the West Pakistan Muslim Personal Law and Muslim Family Law Ordinance of 1961, no specific law in the Constitution strictly prevents the denial of inheritance rights to women. The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Bill was passed in 2020 to ensure their rightful inheritance.
According to Section 498-A of the Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Act of 2011 (Criminal Law Amendment) and Pakistan Penal Code, depriving women of inheriting property by deceitful or illegal means shall be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to a time period of ten years but not less than five years. The convicted person may be fined one million rupees and imprisoned simultaneously.
While Islamic and municipal law promises equal rights to women, societal practice makes no such guarantee. Most of the time, women don’t get their due share after the death of their fathers. The property is either divided into brothers or is sold off without notice, making women suffer at the hands of the court.
Hence, it is essential to be educated on the property inheritance laws in Pakistan and the severe consequences one may face after knowingly stealing someone’s right to property.
The inheritance rights of women have been outlined below:
- The deceased’s wife will receive 1/8th of the inherited property if she has children. If she does not have any children, she will own 1/4th.
- The mother of the deceased will have 1/6th of her son’s property. If the deceased had no parents or children, the mother would receive 2/3rd.
- A female with one or more brothers will receive half of their share after their father’s death.
- A daughter gets half the share of the son.
- Without a son, the daughter gets 1/2 of the inheritance. If there is more than one daughter, they collectively get 2/3 of the share.
Additional Information on the Property Inheritance Laws in Pakistan
Here’s a summary of additional information you need to enlighten yourself on property inheritance laws in Pakistan:
- The legal heir can distribute the inherited property after paying off all the loans, mortgages, or other financial balances.
- The distribution of properties varies from culture to culture and sect to sect.
- Under Muslim personal law, the distribution of inheritance among legal heirs occurs through intestate succession, with the closeness of the heirs’ relationship to the deceased determining their claims.
- The closest familial connections are through blood relations, and the inheritance allocation is based on the deceased person’s number of children, siblings, and other relatives.
- There is no such concept of a “final will” under Pakistani succession laws, and any will that distributes more than one-third of the total property without the approval of all lawful heirs is subject to legal challenge in the court.
- If a native has property in Pakistan and has given it to someone as a gift during their lifetime, then no one can challenge that property even after the donor’s death.
- If a legal heir was alive at the time of property distribution or division but passed away after acquiring his or her part in the property, then that chunk or property will now belong to the direct heirs of that first heir.
- Female children are entitled to half the inheritance of male children; wives inherit one-eighth of their husband’s estate.
The Bottom Line
Property inheritance laws in Pakistan are important yet neglected laws in property matters. Women must educate themselves on this to get their fair share of the property. While a valuable source of information is available online, the common mass needs to hire an inheritance lawyer to make matters efficient and straightforward.
How is inheritance divided in Pakistan?
In Pakistan, inheritance is typically divided according to Islamic law (Sharia). The inheritance shares are determined based on fixed proportions for various heirs. Sons and daughters have specified shares, with sons often receiving double the share of daughters.
How property is divided in family law in Pakistan?
The Family Courts Act and the Pakistan Family Law Ordinance govern the property division. Key considerations include the payment of the dower amount to the wife, maintenance for the wife, and the treatment of property acquired during the marriage as joint assets.
How to transfer property after the death of father in Pakistan?
After the death of the father, an inheritance certificate, also known as a ‘wirasatnama’, is issued by the country’s civil court. This registered document is required to transfer property ownership from the late owner to their legal heirs.
Can son claim father’s property when father is alive in Pakistan?
No, the son cannot claim property if his father is alive, as the property passes on to the legal heirs only after the father’s death. If you want to claim rights over a property, you need to have your father make a Will in your name for the property’s share.
What is the inheritance law in Pakistan 2023?
If a female has brothers, she is entitled to receive half of the property share upon her father’s demise. In the event of a deceased son, the mother inherits 1/6th of the property. If the deceased son has no legal heir, the mother’s share increases to 2/3rd of the property.
How to divide inherited property between siblings in Islam?
A person’s wealth is divided into two components: Fara’id and Wasiyah. Fara’id constitutes two-thirds of the deceased’s estate and is distributed according to Sharia law.
What is the law for daughter in father property in Pakistan?
The daughters are not entitled to inherit from their father’s estate, and such right accrues to them only after the death of their mother.
What is the Sunni law of inheritance?
The Sunni laws attempt to create a more harmonious relationship between the customary law and the Quranic law by which the inclusion of the Quranic class of heirs does not deprive the customary heirs of their share but rather just a portion of the estate is allotted to the Quranic heirs.