In cases of intestate death, when an individual dies without having prepared a will, a question arises of how the successor will be correctly identified and authenticated. To resolve this issue, the Indian Succession Act of 1925 provides for a succession certificate in India, which authenticates a person’s right to inherit the securities of the deceased person and settle his debts in the absence of a will.

It is pertinent to understand that a succession certificate is applicable to realize or transfer a deceased person’s securities such as mutual funds, bank accounts, fixed deposits, and other moveable properties. In cases of debt, the succession certificate holder becomes responsible for the payment or recovery of debt on behalf of the deceased person. In simple terms, a succession certificate is a legal document prepared in the absence of a will for the heirs to be officially recognized as successors and to take charge of the securities and debt of their deceased relative.

How To Get A Succession Certificate?

It is the district judge under whose jurisdiction the deceased person resided at the time of the death or where any of the property is situated, who has the authority to issue a succession certificate. A petition is needed to be filed at the appropriate district court along with the payment of applicable court fees. Pursuant to the admission of the petition, the court issues a newspaper notice for inviting objections on the issuance of the succession certificate to the petitioner. Finally, the court grants the succession certificate in India after hearing all the involved parties. However, the judge may require a bond as a security for all possible losses that may arise from inappropriate usage of the certificate.

Can A Succession Certificate Be Challenged?

The succession certificate can be challenged by filing objections at the time of hearing for the grant of the certificate. All legitimate heirs are given an opportunity by the court to file objections. Additionally, the court can be approached for revocation of a succession certificate, as many cases have arisen where the succession certificate was obtained fraudulently. Hence, a succession certificate can be challenged either by raising objections at the time of grant or by an order of court for revocation and cancellation of the succession certificate. It is pertinent to note that a succession certificate is challenged on various grounds such as fraudulently obtaining the certificate, defective process for obtaining the certificate, when a decree or order for the debts and securities mentioned in the certificate already exists, or when relevant facts to the case are concealed, amongst others.

Validity Of Succession Certificate

A duly issued succession certificate obtained by the court process is valid in all parts of India. However, in some cases the certificate is granted by an Indian authorized representative in a foreign country, then such certificate is mandatorily required to get stamped as per the Court Fees Act, 1870 to be valid throughout India.

How Can We Help NRIs Get Succession Certificates?

Indian inheritance laws do not prohibit Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) from inheriting any kind of property. Hence, NRIs are required to obtain a succession certificate in cases of intestate death of a person having debts and securities.

With the help of dynamic legal professionals in our team, we are prepared to provide detailed guidance and assistance to NRIs in smoothly navigating the succession laws and obtaining a succession certificate in India efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. Our team can proactively help NRIs obtain and prepare the documents required to be accompanied along with the petition to be filed before the district court. We ensure that the interests of the NRI heirs are upheld throughout the process, and for the same, our team can efficiently represent an NRI by providing legal assistance throughout the process, as well as presenting arguments before the court and responding to any objections that may arise.

Conclusion

It can thus be concluded that a succession certificate is a crucial legal document in cases of intestate death as it enables the rightful heirs to take charge of the securities and debts of the deceased person. The process of obtaining a succession certificate in India involves approaching the court, and it is noteworthy that the relevant parties can object to the grant of the certificate or even apply for revocation of the same. Similarly, obtaining the succession certificate by adhering to the streamlined procedure is indispensable for NRIs. However, it is conceivable that challenges for obtaining the certificate may arise at any stage, thus, making it necessary to plan and prepare a robust legal strategy to solidify the outcome of proceedings.

FAQs

1. Who can apply for Succession Certificate?

Legal heirs, executors of the deceased person’s will, and a person who received letters of administration by the court are eligible to apply for a succession certificate.

2. Can a succession certificate be taken for an immovable property?

A succession certificate only confers rights for securities and debts, hence, the certificate cannot be granted for immovable property.

3. What relevant information must be included in a petition to obtain a Succession Certificate?

The following particulars are required to be mentioned in the petition:
– Details such as the time and date of the deceased person’s death.
– Deceased person’s details such as residence at the time of death.
– Relationship of the applicant/ petitioner with the deceased person.
– Clear list of debts and securities of the deceased person.
– Rights of the applicant/ petitioner.

4. What are the documents required to obtain a Succession Certificate?

The following documents are necessary to be accompanied along with the petition:
– Death certificate for the deceased.
– Document evidencing the relationship with the deceased person.
– Identity proof for the applicant/ petitioner.

5. Does obtaining a succession certificate imply that one is the owner of such properties?

It is the most common misconception that obtaining a succession certificate can make them owners of the properties. The succession certificate holder can only act similarly to a nominee by giving the authority to distribute the assets to all the rightful heirs.