If you are considering applying for a succession certificate, let us enlighten you with some crucial facts.
If a deceased person has not prepared a will, the successor of the deceased person gets a succession certificate. The succession certificate is provided to the deceased individual’s heir to prove the authenticity of the successor.
The succession certificate holder has authority over matters of the deceased person’s liabilities and assets. The certificate holder has the right to repay the deceased person’s debts and the authority to transfer the deceased person’s securities.
What is the Need to Obtain a Succession Certificate?
The lawful heirs of a deceased person are required to obtain a succession certificate if they are interested in the deceased movable assets in the absence of nomination or will be made by the deceased person for the ownership of property.
A succession certificate is a legal document the court gives the legal heir the right to encash/withdraw money from Fixed Deposits, Bank Accounts, Shares, Securities and other movable assets.
Circumstances for Succession Certificate
- The legal heir of the property must present the Succession Certificate before the government/non-government/statutory authorities if a person has passed away without writing a will for their movable property/properties. It is crucial to remember you can only obtain a succession certificate for a moveable asset left behind by the deceased.
- A succession certificate is compulsory to claim all the property/properties of the deceased, including shares or debentures or government bonds, money in fixed deposits, money in saving accounts, articles in a bank locker, and any other moveable assets with any authority/organization.
- The organization/authority needs to ask/demand a succession certificate in case there is a dispute among the deceased’s legal heirs for the property’s ownership.
Who Issues the Succession Certificate?
Under family law, the district magistrate of a particular area provides the succession certificate where the deceased resided at the time of his death or has any property belonging to them. One must file a petition with the relevant district court to be issued a succession certificate.
The place where the deceased resided during his death is considered the relevant jurisdiction. If this criterion is not fulfilled, the applicable jurisdiction will be at the location of the deceased’s property.
How to Get a Succession Certificate?
The deceased’s lawful heir must submit a petition in the nearby local court where the deceased’s property is located. Application of petition for uttaradhikar praman Patra, which is a meaning of succession certificate in Gujarati, must include the following:
- Specified name of all the heirs
- Details about the date, time, and place of death
- A copy of the death certificate
The court will issue a notice in the newspaper and for the respondents as soon as it acquires the succession certificate petition. The court provides 45 days for the respondents the filing objections regarding the petition for a succession certificate.
If no one challenges the petition for the succession certificate within the stipulated time, the court will issue it in favour of the petitioner. The issuance of the succession certificate usually takes five to seven months which answers the previous question of how much time is required to be issued a succession certificate.
The judge sometimes compels the petitioner to sign an indemnity bond with the court so that the court has some security if the succession certificate gets misused.
Steps to Acquire a Succession Certificate
According to the law, the process for acquiring a succession certificate is by:
Step 1: Preparation of Petition
The applicant will be required to make a petition, verify and sign the same and submit it to the district magistrate in the relevant jurisdiction after paying the requisite court fees.
Step 2: Submission to Court
The district judge allows a preliminary hearing of the petition submitted by the applicant/petitioner. In case the petition is admitted, the petitioner is allowed to fix a day for the hearing for the same and also forward the hearing notice to whomsoever he deems fit.
Step 3: Grant of Certificate
The judge will decide whether the applicant is within his right to file for the succession certificate and shall provide the succession certificate to him, if satisfied, after hearing the arguments of the concerned parties.
Step 4: Submission of Bond
The applicant may be required to sign a bond of one or more sureties or any other security with the district judge so that the court has security in case the applicant misuses the succession certificate.
Specifications of the Succession Certificate Petition
An application for a certificate of succession filed with the district judge must be signed and authenticated by the applicant and must include the following information:
- Time of death of the demised
- The demised’s residence at the time of death, if the residence is unavailable, and property details within the jurisdiction of the District Judge where the applicant made such application.
- Family members or other close relatives of the demised and their respective residences
- Rights of applicants
There is no reason to invalidate the issuance of the certificate—Debt and securities for which applications for such certificates get issued.
Documents to Submit With the Petition
1. Death certificate or time, date, and place of death;
2. Information on claims and securities left by the demised;
3. Proof of Identity of Applicant/Applicant/Legal Heir
4. A copy of the deceased’s ID
Succession Certificate Validity
A succession certificate is valid in all states of India. However, if the certificate is issued abroad and accredited in that state by an Indian agent (appointed by the government), in that case, the certificate is not valid unless stamped adequately following the Court Fees Act of 1870 have the same validity as granted in India.
Consequences of Succession Certificate
The primary purpose of this certificate is to protect the party paying the debt if the debt gets paid in good faith. Certificate holders are also authorized to receive interest/dividends on the securities and to negotiate or transfer these securities as shown on the certificate. Accordingly, all payments to and by the Certificate Holder are legally binding on behalf of the deceased.
However, this does not necessarily mean that the certificate owner is the owner of the security or the legal heir. A separate legal process determines legal heirs.
Can the Succession Certificate be Cancelled?
According to section 383 of the Indian Succession Act, a succession certificate may get cancelled in the following circumstances:
- When the process of acquiring a succession certificate was flawed
- If the applicant obtained the succession certificate fraudulently. When the succession certificate becomes unusable due to unavoidable circumstances and becomes invalid
- A judgment or order of any other court having jurisdiction over the debts and securities of the same demised person makes it suitable for the certificate to be cancelled.
- When the applicant’s inheritance claim for the certificate of inheritance is found to be false as a result of the examination
In addition, the applicant for the succession certificate may appeal against the revocation order to the High Court.
A succession certificate is a court order made to the legal heirs of a deceased person who died intestate. Therefore, this does not apply if there is a certificate of inheritance. For issuance of a succession certificate, the legal heir of the deceased applies to the competent court. Depending on the financial jurisdiction, a district or high court has the power to issue probate only at the request of the legal heir of the relevant deceased.
How long does it take to get a certificate of succession?
It takes around 5-7 months to acquire a succession certificate.
Can I object to the succession certificate?
You can only challenge a certificate of inheritance on application to the court, and the court invites all legal heirs and next of kin to challenge.
What is confirmation of succession?
A succession certificate serves as evidence of succession. It is issued by a civil court to the legal heir of the deceased to certify that he is the heir of the deceased.
Do succession certificates guarantee ownership of property?
No, the succession certificate has the right to own only the deceased's assets, securities and liabilities, and it does not apply to real estate ownership.
How much does it cost to obtain a succession certificate?
The cost of a succession certificate is based on the Court Costs Act of 1870. Courts set fees as a percentage of the property's value, stating that the amount should be paid in court stamps. This percentage may vary by state.