We see many Hindu couples who don't have a single male child also.

Now assume one such couple have a single girl child and they find a suitable groom for her, get her married and send her off to the in-laws place.

According to smṛtis and dharma śāstras, who's responsible for taking care of the girl's parents in their old age? Is it their daughter, son-in-law, the society or all of them?

PS. Related questions but not duplicate:
1. Are Hindu children meant to serve their parents forever whether they like them or not?
2. Poem on taking care of parents at their old age


1 Answer 1


Here is an answer which is only indicative but not the most definite one

According to me,the parents who don't have a son, but have a daughter, have the following two options:

1)Adopt a son.

Manu Smriti 9.141. Of the man who has an adopted (Datrima) son possessing all good qualities, that same (son) shall take the inheritance, though brought from another family.

Since,the adopted son is inheriting its his duty to look after the parents.

2)Make the daughter an "appointed daughter":

Manu Smriti 9.127. He who has no son may make his daughter in the following manner an appointed daughter (putrika, saying to her husband), ’The (male) child, born of her, shall perform my funeral rites.

Now,an appointed daughter's son is as good as a son's son.

Manu 9.133. Between a son’s son and the son of an (appointed) daughter there is no difference, neither with respect to worldly matters nor to sacred duties; for their father and mother both sprang from the body of the same (man)

So,i guess its the duty of the the appointed daughter to look after her parents like a son and thereafter the responsibility shifts on her son.

Now,in case, she(the appointed daughter) dies without a male issue ,then the duty shifts on her husband.The following verse indicate only that:

Manu 9.135. But if an appointed daughter by accident dies without (leaving) a son, the husband of the appointed daughter may, without hesitation, take that estate.

And,in the case,when the old parents don't have anyone , neither a daughter nor an adopted son ,then the duty(of looking after them) rests on their relatives etc.

The father, the mother, the preceptor, the wife, the children, the poor people, the dependants, the incomers and the guests, are spoken of as the Poshyas (i.e., those who should be supported .

(29)Kinsmen,relatives, those suffering from diseases, who have none to look after them, those who seek refuge, and others having no means, are also spoken of as the Poshyas

(30) To support the Poshyas, is the most excellent expedient for attaining to the celestial region(Daksha Smriti)


  • 1
    "appointed daughter...saying to her husband"...means take permission from the son-in-law? Dec 26, 2016 at 5:38
  • I think its just a declaration & not exactly taking permission from the SIL..
    – Rickross
    Dec 26, 2016 at 6:22

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