One can acquire or own a real estate property in different ways. You can invest your hard-earned money and buy a property (self-acquired property) or you can acquire a property through a Will or you may get it through inheritance also(ancestral property). Property can be classified into one which comes into the possession of the individual through his ancestors and the other is which is acquired by own sources of income or by way of will/gift. These are termed as ancestral and self-acquired properties respectively. The question that needs to be answered is what is the legal procedure and what documents are required for claiming genuine ownership of the same.

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What is the ancestral property?

We often hear people saying that they own their ancestral property. What does that mean? Property inherited up to four generations of male lineage is called as ancestral property. For descendants, be it a daughter or son, will have an equal share in the property.

That means it is passed down from generation to generation, from your grandfather and father up to you without being divided or partitioned by your family. Initially, only men had rights over the property. Later, according to the Hindu Succession Act, even women possessed equal rights on the property.

Features of Ancestral property

  • The property should at the most be of four generations old.
  • The property must not be divided as it becomes self-acquired once if divided.
  • Right from his birth, the person will have the right over the property.
  • The share of the ancestral property is not dependent on the number of members. Rather the successors share is determined on the basis of the predecessors share.
  • The shares are first determined before being divided among the successive generations.

Documents to remember before selling ancestral property

  • A clear title of the property:

Make sure that the title of the ancestral property is clear, as it is the proof of the right of ownership and has the name of the seller. It is important to make sure that all the property papers are in order to enable a  quick sale.

  • Legally approved:

By visiting the civic authority’s office we can make sure whether the ancestral property is legally approved or not. 

  • Property tax:

Make sure that the property tax has been paid and there is no pending tax to be paid. Pending charges can lead buyers to several problems in the sale of your ancestral property.

  • Free from dispute:

The ancestral property that you are trying to sell should be free from conflicts and there should be no pending cases against it. For instance, Karan is the only son of his father, and inherits his property and wants to sell it. His paternal uncle, Rishabh claims that he had contributed some amount for purchasing the property and now wants his share back. Such a property is said to be disputed.  In such a case, the owner should resolve the issue before proceeding with the sale of the property.

  • No objection certificate:

When you inherit a property, you need to get it transferred to your name. To do it, you need considerable proof to claim your inheritance. If there is no legally acceptable will, then you must obtain a No Objection Certificate(NOC) from all legal heirs.

What is self-acquired property?

Self-acquired is the property that one has acquired from his/her own income. It also includes property obtained as a legal heir or will or as a gift. If the property is self-acquired you can inherit that only when the owner of the property is dead. For instance, if your father has both ancestral and self-acquired property, he has the right to exclude you from inheriting his self-acquired property but however, he cannot exempt you from inheriting the ancestral property.

Features of Self-acquired property

  • The total control of the property lies in the hands of the individual.
  • Property acquired through a will or as a gift is self-acquired property.
  • Properties Inherited from the maternal side comes under a self-acquired property. 

Documents required for selling a property

A potential buyer would be interested in buying a property that is genuine and which would not land him into any troubles. The buyers would ensure that all the documents are in place in order to deal with the property any further.

  • Allotment letter:

This is the primary document that has to be in place. The allotment of the particular property from the concerned society or the authority is conferred by this document.

  • Sale deed:

The sale deed traces the ownership of the property. The sale deed or the original conveyance deed from the previous owners of the property is required. We must provide a copy of the conveyance or sale deed along with a photocopy of the receipt from the sub-registrar if the originals were lodged for registration. The sale deed shows the chain of past agreements with respective owners.

  • Sanctioned plan

You require a copy of the approved building plan and occupancy certificate issued by  competent authority. 

  • Society documents

To sell a property, you must be obtained with permission from a competent authority or society. The buyer can ask for the original stamped receipts of payments made by the previous buyers. For example, you want to sell a flat which you own. You need to be issued by the apartment society in your favor. This certificate shows you as a member of that society and that you have no pending payments with the society. This certificate must be filled and signed so that there will be no obstacles in transferring the property to the buyer.  

  • Encumbrance certificate

Encumbrance certificate ensures that the property does not have any legal dues or issues.

  • Sale agreement

The sale agreement is signed between the seller and the buyer on the non-judicial stamp after the completion of documentation. This documentation is an agreement between parties to sell and confirm the terms and conditions. This agreement serves as evidence as it has legal value. Every document acting as evidence of transfer of property to sell is preceded by an agreement to sell. It shows clear-cut conditions to which the seller intends to sell the property and the buyer intends to purchase it.

Thus it is very clear that the law treats both types of properties (ancestral & self-acquired) very differently. So, it is very important that you identify a property as either self-acquired or ancestral one, so that you can plan division of your Estate to your legal heirs.


  • Can the father sell the ancestral property without the consent of successors?

No, he cannot sell it without the consent of successors as the property does not entirely belong to him as it is just a part of his father’s property.

  • Can the daughter claim the father’s self-acquired property?

According to the Hindu succession act, A daughter can make the right claim in a coparcener property. Both the ancestral and self-acquired property can be collective property. According to the Hindu Succession  Act, 2005, a daughter has equal rights compared with his son.

  • How do you convert ancestral to the self-acquired property?

There is no such procedure to be followed to change ancestral to self-acquired property. The only way is to claim your share from the ancestral property and thereafter it becomes self-acquired.

  • Do married women have any rights on their father’s property?

The Married women have equal rights in the parental property after the advent of amendment in the Hindu Succession Act 1956, which came into force on 9th September 2005. 

  • Can a father give all his property to one child?

There is no such Bill. But a father can give only his self acquired property to his one child. This will not apply to the inherited property i.e. in case of ancestral property, as it will be distributed equally amongst all the successors.