A Succession Certificate is a document that is granted by a civil court to the legal heirs of a deceased who dies without leaving a will. It is granted by the court to realize the debts and securities of the deceased. It establishes the authenticity of the heirs and gives them the authority to have securities and other assets transferred in their names as well as inherit debts. In the absence of a will, if there is no heir amongst the account owners and a no nomination had been prepared by the holder (s), a succession certificate is the primary certificate through which the heirs can stake a claim to the assets of a deceased relative.
A Succession certificate is issued by the Competent Courts, usually to establish a relationship for claims relating to Insurance, pension, retirement benefits or service benefits of central and state government departments, Government undertakings etc. In legal succession cases sine qua non to obtain a succession certificate is to establish the relationship.
Procedure to apply for Succession Certificate to The District Judge under section 372 of the Act:
- the petitioner must sign and verify the petition;
- the names, address, age of the legal heirs of the deceased must be mentioned;
- in the case of The Hindu Succession Act (Act XXX OF 1956), the names of the heirs must be mentioned in the petition;
- the relationship of the petitioner with the deceased should be mentioned;
- either Ordinary house of the deceased, at the time of death, or the estate of the deceased should be inside the limits of the Jurisdiction of the Court concerned;
- the debts and securities as to which the succession certificate is applied for should be mentioned; vii) the absence of any impediment u/sec. 370(1) of the Act or any other terms of the Act or any other laws to the privilege of succession certificate or to the legality of it in case of it was granted, must be mentioned
♦ What is Succession Certificate
It is a document/ certificate granted to the legal heirs of a deceased person who does not leave a will. It helps you to establish as a legitimate heir to the deceased and give them the power to inherit shares, securities, debts and other assets of the deceased.
♦ Governing Laws
The succession certificate is valid throughout India. The Indian Succession Act, 1925 governs the same.
♦ Objective of Succession Certificate
The main objective of the succession certificate is to facilitate the collection of the debts on succession and give protection to the parties paying debts to the representatives of the deceased person.
♦ Effects of a succession certificate
The holder of a succession certificate;
- Has a claim over the property and assets of the deceased person.
- Has the authority to represent the deceased in collecting debts and securities due to the deceased or payable in his name.
- Inherits the debts and other liabilities of the deceased person.
♦ Where to apply to get Succession Certificate?
You can apply for a succession certificate in the civil Court. A civil Court can be either a district Court or High Court. It depends on the value of the property and assets.
Remember, you have to apply in the civil Court where the deceased person resided and not where you reside. You can also apply in the civil Court where the properties are situated.
♦ Procedure to get the Succession Certificate (Section 372 of The Indian Succession Act, 1925)
Application for such a certificate shall be made to the District Judge by a petition signed and verified by or on behalf of the applicant in the manner prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The petition should contain the following details:
- Time of death of the deceased;
- Residence or details of properties of the deceased at the time of death within which Judge the jurisdiction falls under;
- Details of family or other near relatives;
- The rights of the petitioner;
- Absence of any impediment to the grant of certificate;
- a copy of the death certificate
- the debts and securities in respect of which the certificate is applied for.
“Do not knowingly give any false information in this petition. It is an offence under the IPC.”
The Court will issue a notice to all legal heirs for filing any objections. If there are objections, the Court will hear and decide the same. The Court will also issue a notice in the newspapers It specifies a specific period to raise objections.
If there no objections, the Court then proceeds to levy a fee for the issuance of the certificate. Only after payment of Court fees, the Court issues the succession certificate. You can then claim your shares according to your own inheritance laws.
A succession certificate will not be granted in cases where obtaining a Probate or Letter of Administration is necessary.
♦ Validity of the Succession Certificate
(Section 380, 381 & 382 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925)
A succession certificate is effect throughout the whole India as per section 380 of The Indian Succession Act, 1925 i.e. it stands valid anywhere within India. However, where a certificate has been granted to a person who is a resident of a foreign country, by an Indian representative (as appointed by the government), of such foreign country, the certificate will stand valid only if properly stamped.
This certificate simply affords protection to the parties paying debts. It means there is absolutely no adjudication of title of the deceased.
♦ What are the documents required for getting a succession certificate?
- Death certificate of the deceased person.
- No objection certificate (from other legal heirs)