India: How To Claim One's Rightful Share – Succession And Legal Heirship Certificate

Last Updated: 11 July 2017
Article by Divi Dutta and Anant Gupta
  1. Succession Certificate

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 defines a succession certificate as a certificate issued by a court to the legal heirs of a deceased to establish the authenticity of the heirs and give them the authority to inherit debts, securities and other assets of the deceased. The purpose of a succession certificate is limited in respect of debts and securities such as provident fund, insurance, deposits in banks, shares, or any other security of the central government or the state government to which the deceased was entitled. Its main objective is to facilitate collection of debts on succession and afford protection to the parties paying debts to the representatives of the deceased person.

A succession certificate may be used in situations where banks, financial and private institutions release funds to the nominee (where such nominee is not the legal beneficiary of the asset) and the nominee refuses to cooperate in distribution of the asset to the legal beneficiary. Similarly, a succession certificate may be useful to prove genuineness of the claimant where the inheritance amount is substantial. Additionally, in certain states, a probate (meaning a copy of the will, if it exists, authenticated by the Court) and a succession certificate are compulsory to transfer the title of an immovable property.

Procuring a Succession Certificate

A few important pointers for procuring a succession certificate are as follows:

  • The beneficiary/ legal heir is required to approach a competent court and file a petition for a succession certificate.
  • The District Judge within whose jurisdiction the deceased ordinarily resided at the time of his death, or, if at that time had no fixed place of residence, the District Judge, within whose jurisdiction any part of the property of the deceased may be found, may grant the succession certificate.
  • The petition should mention important details such as the name of petitioner, relationship with the deceased, names of all heirs of the deceased, time, date and place of death. Along with the petition, death certificate and any other document that the court may require should also be attached.
  • The court, after examining the petition, issues a notice to all concerned parties and also issues a notice in a newspaper and specifies a time frame (usually one and a half months) within which anyone who has objections may raise them. If no one contests the notice and the court is satisfied, it passes an order to issue a succession certificate to the petitioner.
  • If there is more than one petitioner, then the court may jointly grant them a certificate but it will not grant more than one certificate for a single asset.
  • When the District Judge grants a succession certificate, he shall specify the debts and securities set forth in the application for the certificate, and may thereby empower the person to whom the certificate is granted (i) to receive interest or dividends on the securities; or (ii) to negotiate or transfer the securities; or (iii) both to receive interest or dividends or negotiate or transfer the securities.
  • With respect to costs involved, the Court typically levies a fixed percentage of the value of the estate as its fees (which is more particularly prescribed under the Court-fees Act, 1870, (7 of 1870)). This fee is to be paid in the form of judicial stamp papers of the said amount. In addition to Court fees, the applicant will also be required to pay requisite fees to its lawyer.

Succession Certificate vis-a-vis Wills

In the event a person dies leaving a Will, a succession certificate may not be required for inheriting the assets of the deceased since the entire estate of the deceased shall vest on the executor of the Will for distribution as per the instructions set forth in the Will. Although Section 370 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, specifically provides that a succession certificate shall not be granted with respect to any debt or security in cases where a right to such property is required to be established by obtaining letters of administration or a probate, in certain states, a probate and a succession certificate are compulsory to transfer the title of an immovable property. It is to be further noted that in the absence of a Will, banks and financial institutions typically rely on the succession certificate and/or a legal heirship certificate.

  1. Legal Heirship Certificate

Purpose of a Legal Heirship Certificate

A number of other documents such as legal heirship certificate, nominations and death certificate may be procured, as an alternative to a succession certificate, for the purpose of establishing an inheritance or aiding in the transfer of assets from the deceased. It is comparatively easier to obtain these documents.

In some cases, a legal heirship certificate may be relied upon in the place of a succession certificate merely because family members are able to obtain a legal heirship certificate with much ease and speed. Therefore, families typically first apply for a legal heirship certificate and in the event a legal heirship certificate is not accepted by the relevant authority for any reason, then a succession certificate is applied for.

A legal heirship certificate establishes the relationship of the heirs to the deceased for claims relating to pension, provident fund, gratuity or other service benefits of central and state government departments, specifically when the deceased has not selected a nominee. Banks and private companies also accept such certificates for allowing transfer of deposits, balances, investments, shares, etc.

Procedure for procuring a Legal Heirship Certificate

While the Indian Succession Act, 1925 does not prescribe a method for obtaining a legal heirship certificate, it can be easily issued by revenue officers such as tahsildars, revenue mandal officers or talukdars, in every taluk. A legal heirship certificate can be issued and relied upon for certain limited purposes only. Legal heirship certificates are not conclusive when it comes to determining the legitimate class of heirs of a deceased person under the laws of succession or the title of heirs to any disputed property that belonged to the deceased. In case of any disputes between the heirs of the deceased, the revenue officer cannot issue a legal heirship certificate and is required to direct the heirs to approach a civil court for determination of the rightful heirs.

Legal Heirship Certificate vis-à-vis Succession Certificate

A legal heirship certificate is issued to identify the living heirs of a deceased person whereas succession certificate is issued to establish the authenticity of the heirs and give them the authority to inherit debts, securities and other assets that the deceased may have left behind.

Footnotes

1 Authors: Divi Dutta and Anant Gupta.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.