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Inheritance Law in Pakistan A Complete Guidebook

Apr 10,2023

Property Distribution Law in Pakistan 2023

The inheritance law in Pakistan is directly in line with religion because of the Islamic Republic State. It holds great importance to all citizens. However, these laws often need clarification because they need to be adequately documented for the public.

Regarding inheritance, the rules and regulations may differ depending on the deceased’s religious beliefs. 

For Muslims, for example, inheritance is governed by Islamic Shariah as outlined in the following:

  • 1961 Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 
  • 1962 West Pakistan Muslim Personal Law Shariat Application Act

These laws serve to consolidate and amend the various Muslim laws surrounding inheritance. Succession Act 1925 is also one of them. 

Types of Property for Inheritance Law in Pakistan

The procedure of property distribution in Pakistan commences with two types of properties.

  • Movable Assets

The assets that include cash, gold, vehicles, and stock are the type of property considered to be movable assets.

  • Immovable Assets

Real estate, land, buildings, or property types that are not private or easy to transfer are immovable assets.

What is Muslim Inheritance Law in Pakistan?

According to Muslim Inheritance Law (Shari’ah), Islamic law does not recognize the concept of intestacy. Blood relatives are the legal and only heirs to any property left to them by their ancestors. 

All the blood relatives that are direct descendants can receive their share once the owner of the property has died.

When determining who the heirs are and what their respective shares will be? This depends on which sector or sub-sect of Islam they belong to, such as Memon, Khoja, Sunni, or Shia. 

Update Your Information About Inheritance Law in Pakistan

  • It is essential and the need of the hour for the general masses to have a profound understanding of basic information about inheritance property law in Pakistan and what primary factors should be mainstream.
  • After paying off all the loans, mortgages, or other financial balances, the legal heir is allowed to distribute the inherited property or do anything financial with it.
  • In most cases, sons or males in the direct bloodline receive twice the share amount compared to daughters. However, this is not a concrete formula for inheritance distribution due to different religious and cultural beliefs.
  • In accordance with the personal laws of various religious groups in the country, shares are allocated based on each group's respective laws. 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.
  • An exciting aspect of the law of property distribution in Pakistan is that there is no room for the last will in succession. Thus, any intention with one-third of the property exceeding what is mentioned in it has room that it is worthy of a challenge in Pakistan if the legal heirs didn’t have any say regarding property distribution.
  • 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.
  • Upon the death of their ancestor, heirs gain an absolute interest in particular portions of the estate, even before its distribution. In some cases, an inheritance may be vested, meaning that if an heir dies before distribution but was alive at the time of the ancestor's death, their vested share will pass on to their heirs. 

Under Both Sunni and Sharia Inheritance Laws, Female Shares are Similar

  1. If there is no child or child of a son, the wife or wives gets 1/4 of the share; otherwise, she gets 1/8 of the property. 

  2. If there is no child or child of a son, the mother gets 1/3; otherwise, 1/6. 

  3. A daughter gets half the share of the son. 

  4. 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.

Mother property distribution in Pakistan

The distribution of the property of mothers in Pakistan is often unequal because they often give their share of the property to the males in their families. This is particularly valid in rustic places, where women need more access to information about their legal rights.

The Pakistan Penal Code governs the division of property rights between men and women in Pakistan. Section 498A of the Code states that anyone who forces a woman to give up her rightful share of the property will be punished with imprisonment. 

For either description for a term that may extend to ten years but will not be less than five years or with a fine of one million rupees or both depending upon the context of severity.

In case of any complication, consult an expert lawyer and resolve the matter professionally. Otherwise, wife or children and siblings will gather in court, fighting over their rights with one another, which no one wishes for their family.

Shariat Act Effects

The Shariat Act presents that during a case wherein each family is Muslim, the guideline of thumb for choice will be Personal Muslim Law. 

History of Succession Act 1925 and its Applicability in Pakistan

Succession law, also known as inheritance law, is the body of law that governs the distribution of a person's property after their death. 

It determines who is entitled to inherit the deceased person's assets and how they will be distributed among the heirs.

In Pakistan, succession law is primarily governed by the Succession Act 1925, which outlines the inheritance rules for Muslims and non-Muslims. 

The Act provides guidance on the distribution of property among heirs, the order of inheritance, and the rights and responsibilities of heirs.

For Muslims, property distribution is based on Islamic law principles, Shariah as discussed above. 

The Act outlines the order of precedence for heirs, prioritizing the closest family members over more distant relatives. 

The Act also provides for distributing the deceased's property among heirs based on their respective shares under Islamic law.

For non-Muslims, the Succession Act provides for the distribution of property according to their laws, which may be based on their religion or cultural background. 

The Act also provides for the appointment of an executor or court to manage the deceased's estate and distribute the assets among the heirs.

NADRA introduced a streamlined five-step process in January 2021, enabling applicants to obtain Letters of Administration or Succession Certificates without the need to go through the traditional court route. 

This quick and efficient process simplifies the procedure and allows applicants to receive the necessary legal documents through NADRA directly.

The Inheritance Transfer of Property in Pakistan

After deciding who will get the shares or how much, the legal heirs must sign up for a formal application in the local court alongside their CNIC and the deceased’s death certificate.

Once the legally qualified heirs are known, a court date is arranged to finalize the matter. 

If a formal application is completed, documentation (death certificate, CNIC, and bank statements) has been submitted. 

And all the claimed heirs are in court to sign their names, CNICs and bank statements. The court will then issue an order allowing them full access to the property.

Required Documents

The property transfer procedure in Pakistan requires certain documents from the legal claimants or the heirs. Wirasatnama is one such document often issued by the local court to ensure that these situations are handled formally.

Tax on property in Pakistan and zakat on the property should also be kept in mind to fulfill all duties of a wise citizen. 

Some of the documents that are required are as follows:

  • National identity card of departed
  • National identity cards of inheritors
  • Statement of heirs
  • Death certificate issued by the municipality
  • Receipt issued by the local graveyard
  • An independent witness
  • Public advertisement and issued legal notices
  • Mutation or registry of immovable property

Court Fees for Pakistan Law for Property Distribution

Courts that are eligible to handle the property transfer procedure in Pakistan charge almost 7% for the whole case. 

Quranic Ayat on Distribution of Inheritance

For all those wondering about Islamic guidelines regarding the inheritance law or one in Pakistan.

Surah Nissa’s Ayat numbers 11 and 12 directly explain the deliberate way of Islam's stance on the whole property division agenda. This is a direct route to the proper and righteous division of property.

In Closing!

The distribution of property after the father's death has been standard since humanity’s evolution. It is wise to read about Shariat and its laws without falling into the wrong ways or killing the right of anyone.

This blog fulfills all the knowledge required regarding property distribution law in Pakistan. Therefore, always understand the power of legal advice and level up your religious knowledge about inheritance law in Pakistan.

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