The word Ancestral is derived from the word Ancestor. Ancestor has been defined by the Webster’s dictionary as “one from whom a person is descended, a forefather”. Thus, the word “Ancestral” in relation to HUF means anything which has been received by the HUF from Ancestors or forefathers.
In the light of recent amendments made by the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, all property inherited by a male or female Hindu from his/her father, father’s father or father’s father’s father is ancestral property. The essential feature of the ancestral property is that in the Hindu school governed by Mitakshara Law, children, grand-children and great-grand children of a person acquire interest in the ancestral property by birth. The ancestral property never looses its ancestral character and all children whenever born acquire interest in the ancestral property simply by birth.
Any person inheriting property from his/her three immediate paternal ancestors holds it with his/her sons, Sons’ son, and sons’sons’ son as coparcenary property.
It may be noted that the Joint property is the essence of the notion of joint hindu family. It consists of the following interalia:
the ancestral property
accretions to the ancestral property
acquisition to the ancestral property with the joint funds
Self acquired property which is thrown into the common hotchpot by the individual member.