A coparcener is a person who acquires a right in the ancestral property by birth and a person who has a right to demand partition in the HUF property. Any person who is a part of the family other than a coparcener is simply called a member. The coparcener is also a member of the family but a member of the family need not be a coparcener.
Members are not entitled to right in the HUF property by birth and who did not have a right to demand partition but only have a right of maintenance out of the Hindu Undivided Family property. Members may include those who are admitted to the family by marriage or distant male descendants of the common ancestor.
The Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) is a creation of Hindu Law. Under the Hindu law, it has been said that the male members up to three lineal descendants are coparceners meaning a family consisting of father, his son, son’s son and son’s grandson are coparceners in the Hindu property. The genesis of coparcenary thus is a common male ancestor with his lineal descendants in the male line within three degrees excluding him e.g. his son, son’s son and son’s grandson. This genesis is so long as the male ancestor is alive and also after his death, the three degrees can consist of collateral such as brothers, uncles, nephews and cousins etc.
It may be noted that under the Hindu Law, while a wife may not be entitled to claim for partition but if there is a partition between her husband and children, she gets an equal share. However, a widow steps in the shoes of her deceased husband and can claim partition