A succession certificate is an important piece of document, to gain authority over the assets of a deceased person, who died without preparing a will
Property owners, who expire without leaving a will, are said to have died intestate. In such cases, the family has to get a succession certificate, which certifies the successor of the deceased. The person is then entitled to claim the assets, as per the succession laws. The certificate is mandatory, for claiming all kinds of immovable and movable assets, such as bank balance, fixed deposits, investments, etc.
What is a succession certificate?
The succession certificate is a document given to the next of kin or the successor of a deceased person who has not prepared a will, to establish his successor. The succession certificate gives authority to the successor over the deceased person’s debts and securities and to transfer it under his own name.
Who issues a succession certificate?
The succession certificate is issued by the district judge of the area, where the deceased lived at the time of his death or has any property belonging to him/her.
How to apply for a succession certificate?
The legal heir needs to submit a petition in the local court in the area where the asset of the deceased is situated. The application should include:
- Names of all heirs
- Details about time, date, and place of death
- Copy of the death certificate
Once the petition is received, the court will issue a notice in the newspaper and to all the respondents. The court provides a period of 45 days to the respondents, to file objections. The succession certificate is issued in the favour of the petitioner if the court does not receive any responses or no one contests the petition within the stipulated time. The issuance usually takes five to seven months.
Fee for succession certificate
The petitioner needs to pay a fixed percentage of the value of the asset as a court fee, for the issuance of the certificate. The fee is paid in the form of judicial stamp papers of the sufficient amount, after which the certificate is typed, attested, and delivered to the petitioner.
What is the purpose of a succession certificate?
The certificate empowers the holder to receive interest/dividend on the securities and negotiate or transfer such securities as mentioned in the certificate. All payments made to and by the certificate holder on behalf of the deceased person, will be legally valid. Also, the certificate stands valid across India.
Difference between succession certificate and legal heir certificate
If a family member passes away, then, the next legal heir who is directly related to the deceased, such as his/her husband, wife, son, daughter, or mother, is eligible to apply for the succession certificate. This certificate can be used to transfer the telephone connection, electricity connection, house tax, filing of IT returns, etc. For transferring property and claiming insurance, one needs to get a legal heirship certificate from the court. The legal heir certificate is also called a legal heirship certificate or surviving member certificate.
Can the succession certificate be revoked?
As per Section 383 of the Indian Succession Act, a succession certificate can be revoked under the following circumstances:
- The process of obtaining the certificate was defective.
- If the certificate was obtained fraudulently.
- If the certificate becomes useless and inoperative due to circumstances.
- Decree or order or other competent courts in dealing with the debts and securities of the same deceased person renders it proper that the certificate is revoked.
Also, a person may appeal to the appropriate high court against the revocation order.