What is Succession Certificate?

A succession certificate is given to the successor of a deceased person who has not prepared a will in order to establish the authenticity of the successor and also to give the certificate holder an authority over the deceased person’s debts and securities. The payment of debts of the deceased person and also the transfer of the securities of the deceased person can be made by the certificate holder even before the legal heir to the property of the deceased is established.

Who issues a succession certificate?

A succession certificate is issued by the district judge of the relevant jurisdiction. The relevant jurisdiction would be where the deceased person ordinarily resided at the time of his death or if no such place is available, the jurisdiction within which any property belonging to the deceased may be found.

Particulars required when applying for Succession Certificate?

The petition for the succession certificate made to the district judge must be signed and verified by the applicant and include the following details:

1. A copy of the death certificate has to be produced,

2. The time of death must be mentioned on the death certificate,

3. The ordinary residence of the deceased before death. Or if no such address is available, then the details of his property that falls within the jurisdiction where the petition has been filed,

4. Address, Name & other details of the legal heir, family or other near relatives, as per the Act,

5. NOC or No Objection Certificate (from legal heirs other than the petitioner)

6. Any legal heir who wishes to relinquish his right to the estate, he must declare so in an affidavit.

7. Name, Address, and occupation of the petitioners,

8. Copies of their Ration Cards or Passports,

9. The right of the petitioner has to be mentioned,

10. The debts and securities for which the certificate is being applied for,

11. A declaration to be made for the absence of any reason to invalidate the grant of the certificate.

Court's Grant of Succession Certificate

What is the procedure to obtain a succession certificate?

Step 1 : The petition is submitted along with court fees. The Court Fees Act, 1870, prescribes a specific percentage of the value of the estate. This is to be paid in the form of judicial stamp papers. This fee varies from State to State, in India.

Step 2 : The Judge will inspect the application. And make it public by issuing a notice in the national newspapers. And send a notice to all the respondents. The notice calls for objections, if any, to issue a succession certificate. It generally provides a period of 45 days to protest, with necessary documentary proofs. After 45 days are over, he will fix a date for the hearing.

Step 3 : At the date of the hearing, the judge will decide if the applicant is within his right to apply. If satisfied, he shall grant the certificate. The certificate would specify the debts and securities set forth in the application. It will mention the powers granted to receive interest/dividend or to negotiate/transfer/both.

Step 4 : The Judge may also require the applicant to sign an Indemnity Bond to secure the entitled persons. This Bond may also require a Surety or some other security. That'll ensure no possible loss arises out of the use or misuse of such certificate.

What is the validity of the Certificate?

The succession certificate is valid throughout India. For a resident of a foreign country, a certificate may be granted. Provided it has been approved by an Indian representative, accredited to that State (as appointed by the government). of such foreign country. And it must be stamped in accordance with the Court Fees Act 1870 to have the same effect in India.

Who can Apply?

An adult person of sound mind and having an interest in the estate of the deceased can apply. The interest may be in the form of a relative of the deceased, a person having a beneficial interest in the debt of the security etc.

The applicant cannot be a minor. However, the succession certificate can be granted to a minor through a guardian.

Sometimes, it gets difficult and time-taking to establish a relationship for those claiming to be legal heirs. In such cases, a succession certificate can be granted to establish a relationship. The rights of the grantee towards debts/investments are valid even before the legal heir to the property of the deceased is established.

What if more than one application has been filed?

When more than one application has been filed, the judge will decide whom to issue the certificate. He will take into consideration, the interests presented by the applicants. The reasons provided and the supportive documents would be considered.

What if some Debts/Securities were left out?

As per Section 376, the succession certificate can be extended for any debt or security not originally specified. If such extension/amendment is ordered, it shall have the same effect as the original certificate. The District Judge would extend, on an application by the holder/grantee and not of any other person.

What is a Succession Certificate for property ?

Succession certificate is a document issued by a competent court (civil) certifying a rightful person to be the successor of a deceased person. This certificate authorizes successor(s) to realize debts and securities of the deceased person. Issuance of succession certificate does not give right of succession to the claimed property of a deceased person, because it does not determine the right, title and interest of the deceased person to a particular property or entire property. However, successor(s) of intestate deceased person is/are entitled to inherit the deceased person s property (ies).

As per Section 370 of Indian Succession Act, when the deceased person has left a validly executed Will , the entire estate of the deceased person under that will vests on the executor of the will and in such cases Succession Certificate cannot be granted. In eligible cases, the competent court to issue such certificate is the District Court(Section 371 of the said Act) in whose jurisdiction the deceased person generally resided.

For Movable Properties

Succession Certificate is a document which is issued by the court for claiming movable properties by the successors of the deceased. It is significant, and proper advice should be sought while making and implementing these. Mostly Banks don t release funds or FDs without a document of this type granted to the successor. It is applied for movable assets like bank deposits, FDs, etc. If someone dies intestate, (without leaving a Will) it can be granted by the Civil Court to release the debts and securities of the one who is no more. It establishes the legitimacy of the heirs and gives them the authority to get the deposits and other assets transferred in their names. It is issued by the applicable laws of inheritance on an application filed by the beneficiaries in a court of relevant jurisdiction.

1. The first step for any beneficiary is to file for a succession certificate in the same court within whose jurisdiction the dead person resided, to inherit the assets of the deceased or even get them transferred in his name.

2. The document/certificate that is issued establishes the authenticity of the petitioner and gives him the authority to have the assets transferred to his name. Along with authority, the beneficiary will also carry with him the full responsibility and liability of honouring any debt or security attached to that particular property.

3. For all applications made by a recipient to a court of competent jurisdiction, the document in all cases is issued as per the applicable laws of inheritance.

For Immovable properties

In this case, we have situations when legal heirs stake ownership of title and possession. The title of a property can be transferred through a systematic process of transfer which can be based or done through a factum of a Will or Law of Natural Succession where class I legal heirs are the inheritors.

Also, a transfer can take place when the person is alive too, through a Gift Deed. In other cases, a person can claim his right through a partition. After the completion of these procedures, the person stands entirely in ownership control. All related services can be taken care of by our firm, including getting documents and also sale if you want later on.

Some instances of succession certificate:

1. Even if an overseas citizen were to know details about land that he thinks belongs to him, in many cases he finds himself in a situation where either parent or an uncle/aunt has died without making a Will.

2. Just knowing that a piece of land belongs to him, cannot help much proper documentation is needed to assert a claim.

3. Some rules determine the manner in which all the assets of the deceased are passed on to the heirs.

4. It is not easy for him to understand how to get legal heir certificates and he will always need appropriate advice on these matters.

5. While applying for such a document, the following information is required.

6. The time of the death of the deceased, or the Death Certificate as proof.

7. Place of residence of the dead person or if such residence is not within the jurisdiction of the district judge then, any other property of the same individual falling under the purview of the district judge to whom the application is made.

8. The details of the family and other kith and kin of the deceased and their residential addresses.

9. Proof of what right or what capacity he should be nominated as the successor of the departed.

10. Sufficient evidence that the said asset does not fall under the restrictive cases and there is no dispute to his claim as a successor.

11. Complete details of any debt or security attached.


1) Legal heir certificate and succession certificate are entirely different. If the head or a family member passes away, the next direct legal heir of the deceased such as wife/ husband/son/daughter/mother can apply for the Succession Certificate. This certificate can be used for the purpose of transferring Electricity connection, Telephone connection/Patta transfer, House Tax, Bank Account, Filing of IT Returns etc.

2) If the deceased person is a Government servant then the legal heir certificate is issued for approval of family pension, or to get appointments on concerned grounds. Legal Heir certificate is also provided for transfer of property- movable and immovable assets.

3) A Succession Certificate is required when someone inherits any immovable property or movable property under the various Property Laws in the country. Most of these issues come under the Hindu Succession Act. While some of them come under the community acts or the Indian Succession Act. Issues need to be known in the right perspective for both categories.

4) Who issues these certificates ? : Legal Heir certificates is issued by Tahsildar of the district to identify a particular deceased person living heirs and succession certificates are issued by the court to the legal heirs of a deceased person.

5) Who can apply for these Certificates ? : For Succession Certificate: Only legal heir can apply For Legal Heir Certificate: son/daughter/husband/wife/parents of the dead person can apply.

6) What are the Documents required ? : Required Documents to obtain succession certificates are death certificate of a dead person, time and place of death, the name of all legal heirs and relation with the dead person. Required Documents to obtain Legal Heir Certificate are Death certificate original, Identity Card, Ration Card, the name of Family members and relationship, an affidavit worth Rs. 20 on a stamp paper.

7) Fee : For succession certificate, three percentage of total value of the property will be charged. To issue legal heir certificate Rs.2 for a stamp and Rs. 20 for stamp paper for affidavit will be required.

8) Time period : In the case of succession certificate a newspaper notice for 45 days is issued by the court. Any person having an objection with such advertisement can file oppositions. If the court doesn t receive any objection, it will issue succession certificate. This process may take 5-7 months. 15 to 30 days are needed to issue legal heir certificate.

9) Importance : The Succession Certificate is used for transfer or possession of property or for paying debts or security on behalf of a deceased person or for collecting debts or security on behalf of deceased. The Legal Heir Certificate is used for gratuity, pension, insurance, PF, retirement claims etc.

A few more points about the Certificate

The essential purpose of this certificate has been to provide protection to all parties paying debts. When these payments have been made in good faith. The grantee also has powers to receive any interest/dividend on the securities and negotiate or transfer them. Thus any payments made to and by the grantee on behalf of the deceased person are legally valid.

The Grantee has the right to :

1. Claim the moveable assets of the deceased person.

2. This certificate is not applicable to inherit the immovable assets. For immovable properties, you need letters of administration from the court.

3. Represent the deceased in collecting any payment towards debts and/or securities due.

4. Inherit the liabilities of the deceased person, as well.

5. It can be granted even if there is a nomination in the deposits, investments, insurance etc.

6. Further, it doesn't necessarily make the certificate holder, a legal heir or the owner of these assets. There is a separate procedure of law to determine the legal heir(s).

7. Above point means that the grantee is authorized to act only as a trustee to the legal heirs.

8. A Legal Heir certificate doesn't substitute the Succession Certificate.

9. It can be revoked/cancelled under certain situations. These may be fraud, defective proceedings, etc. Thereafter, the certificate becomes useless.

10. The court, even if there is more than one heir, will only issue a single succession certificate.

The Succession Certificate affirms that there has been no will. And denotes the legal heirs of the deceased. The beneficiary will, additionally, carry with him the full responsibility and liability of honouring any debt or security attached to that particular property.

Restriction on Succession Certificate

A court can sometime require a bond with one or more surety or sureties or any other security for rendering an account of debts and securities received by the petitioner of succession certificate for indemnifying the persons who may be entitled to any part of the debt or securities.

What is the effect of the Certificate?

The main purpose of this certificate is to provide protection to all parties paying debts where such payments are made in good faith. The certificate holder is also empowered to receive any interest/dividend on the securities and negotiate or transfer such securities as mentioned in the certificate. Thus all payments made to and by the certificate holder on behalf of the deceased person will be legally valid. However, this does not necessarily mean that the certificate holder is the owner of the securities or the legal heir. The legal heir/heirs are determined by a separate procedure of law.

Revocation of the Succession Certificate

As per Section 383 of the said Act, a certificate so issued may be revoked for any of the following causes :-

1. Process for obtaining the certificate was defective.

2. Certificate was obtained fraudulently.

3. Certificate becomes useless and inoperative due to circumstances.

4. Decree or order of other competent court in dealing with the debts and securities of the same deceased person, renders it proper that the certificate is revoked.

5. Against an order of the District judge, in the matter of grant, refusal or revocation of certificate, a person may appeal to the appropriate High Court.

Conclusion :

Succession Certificate is a document which is issued by the court for claiming movable properties by the successors of the deceased. It is significant, and proper advice should be sought while making and implementing these.


PG - 19122019

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