Family Disputes Over Property in India


The unfortunate truth of society is property disputes among family members. Wealth and money are the biggest lures to attract people. Everyone wants to be rich so that they can buy whatever they want. Once the people taste the flavor of ease and wealth, they become greedy, creating rifts and property disputes between siblings.

Property conflicts in homes have become a common issue. In this article, we will discuss family property dispute, causes, and how to resolve them. 

What are family property disputes?

Property disputes may begin with verbal abuse and lead to something worse. Conflicts within the family can happen in numerous forms. The majority of the center of the dispute is on the title of the property.

Claims from legal heirs and co-owners, disputes over easement rights, a wrong declaration by the seller, poor definition of the land in the title deed, and other elements usually lead to property issues. A dispute may also happen if a party to the transaction refuses to do their part after getting the share and becomes another buyer for concern. In that case, the person can go to court and challenge the property's title.

Learn more about Common Property Disputes in India and how to avoid them.

Causes of Family Disputes Over Property in India

Following are some property disputes that can happen among the family:

Division of Inherited Property

Property conflicts among family members are common, and court cases regarding the right of ownership over a property can continue for ages. These conflicts are more common in inheritance cases. When a person inherits a property, it may only include executing economic dealings once they give away their part to a person against a concern or vice-versa.

But they still have to go via legal courtesies to get the right to that property. One may wish to sell or gift it to a person, but even lawfully, they must make it legally theirs. Legal civilities may differ depending on the property's nature, their rights on it, the legal heirs, and other factors.

You Might be Intretsed in: Property Division Among Siblings After Parent's Death

Conflicts over Joint Tenancy Ownership

Joint ownership is one way to make purchasing a property quite reasonable. Examples of joint property purchase are unmarried couples purchasing a property, between friends, and siblings, parents loaning money to their siblings, or children having property as per the will.

Disputes among joint ownership can occur due to various reasons. The association between owners may break down, causing an inevitable clash. Often, the balance of the financial burdens causes disputes. If a person wants to sell their property's share and the other doesn't, this is a valid reason for a property conflict. Yet, if one owner feels that they have "put in" more to the property (efforts financially or physically), this often leads to a conflict about the size or value of its share. The one with the less ratio of the property may not feel that they have to pay as much towards the keeping of the property or any other duty as the other party, which can cause disputes between the family members.

Unclear Property Titles

Property having a ‘title’ refers to numerous rights arising from the property's lawful owner. For example, the property transfer during a sale would be affected while transferring the title. A dispute on the property can arise due for numerous reasons. The title of the property in India may be unclear due to some reasons, including:

  • Gaps in the lawful framework.
  • Inheritance problems of the zamindari system.
  • Poor management of land documents. 

The lack of clarity in the title of the property can create disputes related to the ownership of that property and affect the real estate and agricultural sectors.

Personal or Financial Interest

The financial or personal interest is an interest in the property that provides the financial share and the right to occupy a property to the heirs. The difference in financial or personal interests between the members can create a dispute in property among the family. Following are some ways a person's financial or personal interest can arise:

  • By constructive trust.
  • By stating the indication of goods.
  • By resulting in faith.

Fraudulent Practices

Property fraud is at its peak, and fraud practices vary. One must look out for anything that seems unusual and think about it or they can consult a lawyer that can save them from future disputes. Following are some fraudulent practices that can cause disputes between the family.

  • Fake assurances or representation.
  • Fake contracts for builders or developers
  • Property title deception
  • Marketing the same unit to numerous buyers
  • Selling without permission
  • Change in the action plan

Laws govern property disputes among family members

Many Property laws and acts govern purchasing of land, transferring of land, and selling of land. Some inheritance laws explain how property must be transferred from one person to another. With that, Muslim laws are quite different and must be checked individually. Succession laws state the successor of the property (who can it be).

 In short, one needs to be notified regarding the property laws relevant to their property. So, it is suggested to consult an experienced property lawyer for all documentation to avoid future conflicts.Following are some laws that govern property disputes among family members:

Inherited laws

According to the inherited law, if a person dies without creating the will, then all the legal heirs of the property will have an equal share of the deceased's property, relying on the relevant succession laws. Yet, per the HSA, there are some cases in which a person & their children lose the right to get the property.

The Hindu Succession Act, of 1956

According to the act, a deceased person’s property will be shared among his successors in Class-I of the plan if they part without creating a will. If the husband dies without creating a will, the widow has the right to take one share.

Muslim Laws

According to the Muslim Personal Law, 1937, also known as Shariat, deals with cases of intestate succession, the special property of females, estate, and property's transfer as per a gift or any other condition, which is a matter of personal law.

Succession Laws

The succession law deals with the legal rules of allocating a deceased person's assets. It includes the order in which a person in a choice of any or a person after another or any person in particular shares with any other one thrives to the property/inheritance of the dead one.

India Registration Act

As per Section- 17 of the Indian Registration Act, a family settlement purports to assign must compulsorily register the property otherwise, the deed will be considered invalid.

Legal Advice

Various laws control property disputes. These laws help to define the possession of the property and also help to transfer that right from one person to another. Relying on the varying cases, various laws are useful. For property settlement within a family, one must have a good knowledge of the functions of the laws and check if they are aligned. It is where a property lawyer can help a person by understanding the laws related to their property. A lawyer can foresee the cases that may occur in the future and can help you resolve them by taking care of a few things. So, it is always advised to confer with an experienced lawyer for the property dispute before taking any decision.

Legality Involved In Property Settlement

To make the partition contract valid, it is necessary to do it on paper, and it must be registered with the signatures of all the family members who have possession of it. The absence of the signature of any person can cause future problems. Also, two witnesses are needed as proof of the deed, it isn't mandatory, but one can have them to be on the safer side.

How to Resolve Property Disputes among a family in India?

As discussed above, property disputes among a family can be complicated and exhausting. Therefore, it is advised to solve these disputes as soon as they arise. There are two ways in which a person can get a share in the property: 

  • Ancestral property
  • Self-acquired property

It is essential to understand the type as the rights depend on it. Following are some ways to resolve property cases within the family.

By Mutual Agreement and Discussion 

The family settlement means a resolution of the property dispute by the mutual agreement among the family members, ordinarily made to prevent getting involved in court battles by dividing up the family property mutual agreement among the members of the family.

The agreement has a similar format as that of a partition deed. Other than that, it is not compulsory to record and stamp the agreement of family settlement.

Yet, it must have the signatures of all the family members.

  • Without any fraud or
  • Any force or undue pressure from any other member

Also, it is optional to create the agreement as a written record in the family settlement. Still, the same can be implemented through a mutual agreement among the members or settlement.

In the family settlement, it is essential to include an outsider, usually a senior member of that family, an attorney, or a counselor who can guide and assist the family in the process.

Legal Advice

Various laws control property disputes. These laws help to define the possession of the property and also help to transfer that right from one person to another. Relying on the varying cases, various laws are useful. For property settlement within a family, one must have a good knowledge of the functions of the laws and check if they are aligned. It is where a property lawyer can help a person by understanding the laws related to their property.

A lawyer can foresee the cases that may occur in the future and can help you resolve them by taking care of a few things. So, it is always advised to confer with an experienced lawyer for the property dispute before taking any decision.

Going to Court for Litigation

Litigation means asking and fighting in court to resolve a case. It may become a cumbersome process as both parties argue intensely to get the decision in their favor. It requires a lot of time and money.

If the parties are not okay with the property settlement or do not divide the share between them mutually between them, then the only choice is to take it to the court for a resolution. It means the parties should file a partition case in court for the property dispute settlement among family members.

Before filing the partition case, the party must send a legal notice after mentioning the property and the share they want to acquire, and the share they wish to divide among the other members of the family. After that, the other party will reciprocate the legal notice, and if the other does not respond or take the notice seriously, they will file the partition case.

After filing the case, the court has to decide if they have any right to claim the property or if they are suitable owners or co-owners of that property. If the court is satisfied that the member has the right to that property, then the court will state the share.


To sum up, we can say that property conflict in a family is widespread in India, which usually leads to ruinous effects. To avoid this situation, the best way to settle these property conflicts is by mutually deciding on the division of that property. Still, the mutual agreement should be made in sound faith and with free consent. If the property settlement does not settle the conflict, the family needs to file a suit of partition for their rights in the property. After that, the court will decide on the division of the property. We hope now you understand the meaning of property disputes in the family and its other essential elements.

If you want a more thorough discussion or need help solving the case. Contact us today! You can mail us at or call us at +919284293610. Our experienced lawyers will help you in the best possible way.


What can be the effects of not handling the property disputes within the family in time?

India witnesses lots of property dispute cases among family members. Because of that, even a documented will can be questioned in court by an aggrieved family member, resulting in a conflict within the family until the conflict is settled mutually or by the court. Thus, it is apt to handle property dispute cases as soon as it occurs. It is advised to solve these cases with the guidance of an experienced lawyer so that they can share their knowledge and guide towards the best possible solution for the case.

Can family dispute settlement be questioned?

While a duly completed family settlement cannot be questioned, except if it is a court's order, a family property dispute settlement can be questioned as per the court's order in the following cases.

  1. Any misunderstanding of facts about the title of the property title may cause issues.
  2. Inappropriate enactment.

What is Family Mediation? What is its role in solving family disputes?

Family mediation is a formal way that enables people to settle disputes of property, finance, divorce, and separation.

Mediation is an inclusive term and can work in all types of conflict. The main thing to understand is that it's a way in which people having disputes can attend a safe, confidential, and neutral space to work through disparities and come to a point in which they both agree. It varies from the court's way of passing a judgment. Mediation is self-determining, honest, and voluntary. It means that the people in the dispute communicate their deals with the guidance of a mediator.

What are the pros of a family settlement in property disputes?

Family settlements are beneficial for:

  • Those who do not wish to get involved in undue court actions that consume a lot of time and money.
  • Attaining faster and dispute-free ways of solving family property issues.