Succession refers to the process by which assets and liabilities of a deceased individual are transferred to their successors. A Succession Certificate is a crucial legal document which effectively certifies the individual who is the rightful inheritor of the assets and debts left behind by a deceased individual who dies intestate, including assets such as mutual funds, bank balance, pension, insurance, and more. A Succession Certificate, therefore, streamlines and simplifies the process the NRIs would have to undergo in order to prove their rightful ownership over the assets and debts of the deceased.

When Succession Certificate is Required

A Succession Certificate would be required whenever an individual passes away without leaving a will. The requirement for this certificate would arise in order to be establish one’s status as the legal heir of the deceased individual, consequently granting them the right to inherit the assets and debts. Therefore, this certificate is necessary for transferring the assets, to deal with financial institutions in order to access the bank accounts and other financial assets and to effectuate a sale or transfer of the property inherited.

Legal Documents Required for Succession Certificate in India

In order to obtain a Succession Certificate online, an application in the form of a petition which must be duly signed by the NRI is to be made to a civil court of the relevant jurisdiction in the manner provided under applicable laws. A copy of the death certificate and other necessary documents such as identity proof, address proof of the deceased, NRI’s birth certificate etc., are submitted along with the petition entailing the following particulars:

  1. The time, date and place of the death of the deceased;
  2. The ordinary residence of the deceased at the time of his death which is within the jurisdiction of the relevant court;
  3. The family or other near relatives of the deceased and their respective residences;
  4. The right in which the petitioner claims;
  5. The absence of any impediments in the grant/ validity of the certificate;
  6. The details of the debts and securities in respect of which the certificate is applied for.

However, it is pertinent to note that the requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another as certain states may require additional documents or information as deemed fit by the competent authority.

How to obtain a Succession Certificate in India?

Legal heirs who are looking to claim ownership of assets and other properties of their deceased relatives are required to follow the following legal procedure in order to be successfully granted a Succession Certificate.

Step 1

Preparation of a Petition

The petitioner would first have to prepare a petition which is to be submitted to a civil court along with the requisite court fees.

Step 2

Submission of the Petition

The petitioner after preparation of the petition would have to submit the petition along with all the required documents in the court having jurisdiction over the matter. Jurisdiction would be determined on the basis of the place where the deceased resided prior to his/her death. In the event the court cannot determine the place of residence as provided, the matter would be transferred to the court having jurisdiction over the assets in accordance with the location of such assets.

Step 3

Hearing of Petition

Post submission of the petition, the Hon’ble Judge having jurisdiction over the matter would provide the petitioner with an opportunity to be heard. Upon this preliminary hearing, the court may admit the matter and would consequently provide for a final date of hearing where every relevant party to the matter would be duly notified.

Step 4

Granting of Certificate

On the date of the final hearing, upon inspection and hearing all parties concerned, the court would determine whether the petitioner has a valid right in the assets and debts of the deceased. If the court is satisfied with the claim, the petitioner will be granted the Succession Certificate.

Step 5

Submission of an Indemnity Bond

On the grant of the Succession Certificate, the court may at its own discretion direct the petitioner to sign an indemnity bond which would essentially prohibit the petitioner from misusing the Succession Certificate. The petitioner may have to provide some security on the signing of such bond.

Who Issues a Succession Certificate?

In India, a civil court has the authority to issue a Succession Certificate. To determine the appropriate court where a petition for a Succession Certificate should be filed, the key consideration is the place where the deceased individual resided at the time of his/her death. If the court is unable to ascertain the place of residence, the jurisdiction of the court would be transferred and would depend upon the location of the assets of the deceased individual.

Validity of a Succession Certificate

A Succession Certificate in India holds validity and applicability throughout India and is thereby, applicable in every region of the country.

How Can We Help You Get a Succession Certificate?

Obtaining a Succession Certificate can be a tedious and complicated process. As a firm with expertise spanning various legal domains including succession matters, A&A understands the complexities and challenges that NRIs face in obtaining this certificate. Our extensive knowledge of Indian laws and regulations would assist you to navigate the complex legal landscape with ease, making the process more comprehensible.

Our team of experienced lawyers is adept and well-versed with the legal requirements and procedures for obtaining a Succession Certificate. We understand that time is of the essence for NRIs and work diligently to expedite the process of obtaining the certificate. Our proactive approach ensures that your legal rights as an NRI are safeguarded, and you experience maximum transparency and minimum delay.

Conclusion

A Succession Certificate is a critical legal document in India that simplifies the legal process of inheriting assets and debts of a deceased who dies intestate. The procedure and documentation involved in order to obtain a Succession Certificate involves filing a well-documented petition with vital information of the petitioner as well as the deceased. With the right legal assistance, NRIs can efficiently navigate the legal aspects in obtaining the assets and liabilities left behind by a deceased and experience a smooth transition of inheritance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When is a succession certificate granted?

Upon the submission of a petition for grant of succession certificate, the competent authority conducts an inspection of documents and grants an opportunity of hearing to people who in their opinion should be heard with respect to the assets and liabilities involved. Upon satisfaction and hearing the parties involved, the court can decide whether the petitioner should be granted a succession certificate.

2. How much does it cost to get a succession certificate in India?

The fee to obtain a succession certificate can vary depending upon factors like the value of the property involved, stamp duty as per the state regulations, the court fee of competent jurisdiction and the advocate fee charged.

3. What is the difference between legal heir certificate and succession certificate?

A legal heir certificate is obtained for gratuity, pension, provident fund, and retirement claims whereas a succession certificate is obtained for transfer of assets and liabilities to a legal heir of a deceased who passed away intestate.

4. Can a succession certificate be challenged?

Yes, once the application for a succession certificate is filed in the court, the court issues a notice to all the relatives and legal heirs of the deceased giving them an opportunity to raise an objection regarding the grant of such succession certificate.

5. How much time does it take to obtain a succession certificate?

The process of grant of succession certificate usually takes around 5-7 months depending upon the legal heirs involved and objections raised, if any.