Dead person - Someone who is no longer alive is called dead.

Legal status of Dead Person:

                Dead persons have no legal personality and hence, cannot sue and be sued. Dead men are no longer persons in the eye of law. Legal personality of a person dies with his person. They do not remain the owners of their property until their successors enter upon their inheritance. When a person dies leaving Will, his property is distributed according to the Will. Law recognises and takes account after the death of the person of his desires and interest when alive. There are three things in respect of which the anxieties of living men extend even after their death. Those are his body, his reputation and his property.

1) His Body:

A living person is interested in the treatment to be given to his own body. A person is interested in a decent funeral and good burial. Criminal law secures a decent burial for all dead persons and the violation of a grave is a criminal offence. It is because to the respect the feelings of the relatives of a dead person, not in protection of dead person's right.

2) His reputation:

Everyone is interested in maintaining reputation even after death. The reputation of a dead person receives some degree of protection from the criminal law. Defamation suit can be filed for loss of reputation of a dead person. If the publication is an attack on the internet of living persons, as a matter of fact, this right is in reality not that of the dead person but of his living descendants.

3) His Property/ Estate:

A man is dead but his hand may continue to regulate and determine the enjoyment of the property he owned while he was alive. He can dispose of his property by WILL. when a person dies intestate ( dies living will) the property is distributed according to the WILL.

Case law:

William Vs. William 33 Bombay 122.

In this case, court held that a person during his lifetime cannot make a Will, disposing of his body. e.g. giving his brain, bones etc to the museum or giving any part of his dead body to the medical college. But the trend changed today and it is legal to donate one's eyes of part of his body after his death.

See also...

1) Methods of Transfer of possession

2) Why Law protects Possession ?

3) Kinds of Legal Rights

4) Analytical School of jurisprudence

5) Difference between Analytical School and Historical School


  1. I work as assistant professor in a law college in Mumbai. I was going through the above article. I would like to suggest that this article needs changes in the lines which I have copied and pasted below. the person dying intestate does not write a will.
    He can dispose of his property by WILL. when a person dies intestate ( dies living will) the property is distributed according to the WILL.

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