What is ancestral property ?
Property inherited upto 4 generations of male lineage (i.e., father, grand father, etc.) is called as ancestral property. The right to a share in such a property accrues by birth itself, unlike other forms of inheritance, where inheritance opens only on the death of the owner. The rights in ancestral property are determined per stripes and not per capita. This means that the share of each generation is first determined and the successive generations in turn sub divide what has been inherited by their respective predecessor.
What is not ancestral property ?
Properties inherited from mother, grandmother, uncle and even brother is not ancestral property. Property inherited by will and gift are not ancestral properties. Self acquired property on the other hand can become ancestral property only if it is thrown into the pool of ancestral properties and enjoyed in common. This is a matter to be determined on the facts and circumstances of the case.
Property inherited by a Hindu from his father, father's father or father's fathers' father, is ancestral property. Property inherited by him from other relations is his separate property. The essential feature of ancestral property is that if the person inheriting it has sons, grandsons or great-grandsons, they become joint owner's coparceners with him. They become entitled to it due to their birth. A person inheriting property from his three immediate paternal ancestors holds it, and must hold it, in coparcenary with his sons, sons’ sons and sons’ sons’ sons’ but as regards other relations he holds it and is entitled to hold it, as his absolute property